|What is the definition of Probate?
Probate is the procedure where a Will is admitted to record in the Probate Department of the Clerk’s Office of the Circuit Court and/or Probate is the process of appointing and qualifying a person as Executor or Administrator of an estate. Probate can also be defined as the entire process of administering an estate. There are two types of Probate.
What are the two types of Probate for a decedent's estate?
Probate with qualification: The procedure when an individual is formally qualified as an Executor or an Administrator in order to have the legal authority to administer a decedent’s estate.
Probate without qualification: When a Will (if testate estate) or a list of heirs (if intestate estate) is admitted to record, with NO formal qualification of an Executor or Administrator.
How do I determine which Clerk's Office to contact for Probate?
Primarily, probate should be held in the jurisdiction in which the decedent last resided. However, Probate may be done where the decedent owned real estate, or where he/she died, or where he/she owned any estate. You may contact the Probate Clerk to help you determine what jurisdiction Probate needs to be conducted in.
Why do I have to probate a decedent's estate?
To obtain the legal authority to administer the estate if the decedent had either (or both) of the following:
Also, probate may be necessary in order to file a wrongful death suit or to continue a pending suit.
- Solely-held personal assets
- Any interest in real estate
What if the decedent's only asset was a motor vehicle?
Probate may not be necessary in this case. Please contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at 800-435-5137 or your local DMV for further instructions.
Does the Clerk’s Office hold wills for safekeeping?
No. The Clerk's Office does not hold wills for safekeeping. If the will was filed in the Loudoun County Courthouse prior to October 1997, and it has not been removed, then it is still being held for safekeeping in the Probate Office.
How do I obtain my will that has been held for safekeeping?
How do I obtain a will that has been secured in Loudoun County Courthouse for someone who is now deceased?
- If you are the owner of a will that was secured in the Loudoun County Courthouse, you may retrieve your will provided that you have proper identification. You must contact a probate clerk to be sure they are available to retrieve your will.
- If you are not the owner of a will that was secured in the Loudoun County Courthouse, (i.e. if you are retrieving the will for a parent/sibling/spouse who is unable to appear in person), you must bring your identification, as well as a notarized statement requesting that you, specifically, have their permission to retrieve their will, along with a copy of their ID. You must contact a probate clerk to be sure they are available to retrieve the will.
Does Virginia have a procedure for probate for a small estate?
- You must provide the Probate Clerk with a death certificate.
- You must also provide proper identification.
- The Probate Clerk will review the secured will to determine who the nominated Executor is. If your identification matches the nominated Executor named in the will, the secured will may be released into your possession.
- You must contact a probate clerk to be sure they are available to retrieve the will.
- Please note: Once a will is removed from safekeeping by a Probate Clerk, it will not be accepted again for safekeeping.
If an estate consists of personal assets not totaling more than $15,000, and 60 days have passed since the date of death and no Personal Representative has qualified in any jurisdiction, a Small Estate Affidavit may be issued to the heirs at law when there is no Will, or to the beneficiaries of a Will once the Will and/or the List of Heirs at Law have been recorded. An appointment with the probate department is necessary for this procedure. A certified copy of the death certificate is also required.
Where may a copy of a death certificate be obtained in Virginia?
When a death occurs in Loudoun, death certificates may be obtained from:
Loudoun County Health Department
1 Harrison Street, S.E. 2nd Floor
Leesburg, VA 20175
Depending on the date of death, death certificates may also be obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Richmond, Virginia. Call 804-662-6200 for complete instructions. The Clerk's office is prohibited by law from making certified copies of death certificates.
Whom do I contact about estate taxes?
Contact the Virginia Department of Taxation, 804-367-8031. For federal estate tax questions contact the Internal Revenue Service, 1-800-829-3676 or 1-866-816-2065.
How can I obtain a Tax ID Number?
When you apply to open an account for an estate or a trust at any financial institute, you will be asked for the taxpayer identification number. The IRS issues taxpayer identification numbers. You must complete an SS-4 form. To obtain a taxpayer identification number, the preferred method of the IRS is as follows:
Go to www.irs.gov/businesses
Click on the link titled ‘Employer Identification Number’
Click on “Apply for an EIN Online’
Scroll down to click on line titled ‘Apply Online Now’
Click on ‘Begin Application’
Choose Estate or Trust (whichever applies to your administration)
Click ‘Continue’ – follow all instructions and complete all requested information. The IRS will provide an EIN number and confirmation page to print for your records.
Or, to apply by phone: Call 1-800-829-4933. An assistor takes the information, assigns the EIN and provides the number to an authorized individual over the phone.
How do I file a claim against an estate?
Claims can be filed at the Commissioner of Accounts Office. Be sure to include the appropriate fee when filing your claim.
Mail the completed Claim Form to the:
Commissioner of Accounts Office
4 Cornwall Street, N.E.
Leesburg, VA 20176
112 Edwards Ferry Road, N.E.
Leesburg VA 20176
Senior Probate Specialist
Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday,
8:30 am - 4:00 pm:
By appointment only
Clerk of the Circuit Court
Attention: Probate Department
P.O. Box 550
Leesburg, VA 20178
Special Delivery Address (ie. packages from Fed Ex, UPS, courier)
Clerk of the Circuit Court
18 East Market Street
Attn: Probate Department