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Estate & Trust Administration

Executors, Administrators & Personal Representatives

Dominion represents executors, administrators, and personal representatives of estates, assisting them in carrying out their duties properly and according to law. If you have been named as an executor or executrix in a will, or are the personal representative of someone who died without a will (intestate), then it is important that you fully understand and fulfill your responsibilities. A fiduciary may be liable to beneficiaries, heirs, or creditors if he or she fails to do so. However, there are steps that can be taken to limit this potential liability. Dominion can provide critical professional guidance on the administration of estates, including:

  • Filing the necessary documents and complying with the rules of probate;
  • Handling claims of creditors of the deceased, while limiting liability;
  • Resolving an insolvent estate, while preserving the rights of family members;
  • Making distributions to beneficiaries; and
  • Dealing with disputes among family members.

Need help or have questions about administering an estate through probate or serving as trustee?

An experienced trusts and estates attorney can discuss your situation and provide the guidance to carry out your responsibilities correctly.

The Circuit Court and Commissioner of Accounts

In Virginia, Dominion handles estate and trust matters before the Circuit Courts and the Commissioner of Accounts offices. Each city or county has a Circuit Court with a Probate Division and a Commissioner of Accounts. Normally, an estate will be administered in the jurisdiction where the decedent resided prior to his or her death.

The Circuit Court (Probate Division) handles the admission of wills to probate and the appointment of executors and administrators for estates, as well as
providing general supervision and resolving some disputes. The Commissioner of Accounts is a court – appointed attorney charged with overseeing the administration of estates and trusts by their fiduciaries. For example, an executor must file an inventory and periodic statements of account with the Commissioner of Accounts, who then reviews and (if in order) approves them. The Commissioner of Accounts also conducts “debts and demands” hearings and may resolve issues concerning the validity of claims against the estate or priority of payments from an estate.

Links to websites for some local Probate and Commissioner of Accounts offices: