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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    6

    Default How do You Find Out if You're an Heir to an Estate

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Virginia

    I know absolutely nothing about wills as I've never been named in a will and don't have the need for one, yet. I have a few questions because I am getting confused about what I've been reading online.

    How long after a death does it take for people to find out if they've been named or get something in a will? What is the procedure for this?

    If a person was made an executor a long time ago, wouldn't they have been told or been given paperwork at the time they were made executor?

    If a person was made an executor and then later removed, would they be officially notified somehow?

    Thanks in advance for the help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    757

    Default Re: New to Wills and How They're Carried Out

    Keep in mind that probate law is state law and the law (and processes) can differ from one state to the next. That is particularly relevant to your first question.

    How long after a death does it take for people to find out if they've been named or get something in a will? What is the procedure for this?
    For Virginia, I would suggest reading through this:

    http://www.virginiaestatelaw.com/mai...n/notice.shtml


    If a person was made an executor a long time ago, wouldn't they have been told or been given paperwork at the time they were made executor?

    If a person was made an executor and then later removed, would they be officially notified somehow?
    A will nominates a person to serve as executor. It does not "make" that person the executor. The court does that when the will is submitted for probate and the nominated person requests that the court appoint that person.

    That said, it is a good thing for the person executing a will to inform the nominated executor. And, also, if the person executing the will decides to remove someone as the nominated executor. But there is no law requiring either.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,202

    Default Re: New to Wills and How They're Carried Out

    Quote Quoting mjj1
    View Post
    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Virginia

    I know absolutely nothing about wills as I've never been named in a will and don't have the need for one, yet.
    Everyone has a need for a will unless they either (1) have no assets to pass on to anyone or (2) they are happy with the state’s default provisions in its intestate succession law that determines who gets their stuff when there is no will. The idea that many young people have that they aren’t old enough to have to worry about dying yet is very common but misguided. A person can die young from all sorts of accidents or unexpected illness.

    Generally once a will has been submitted to the court for probate and a personal representative (PR) has been appointed for the estate the applicable state law will require that the PR notify the beneficiaries named in the will and any heirs at law within some (reasonably short) period of time, e.g. 30 days, 60 days or whatever.

    A will simply nominates a person to be the executor (which is what the PR is called when a will is submitted for probate). That person does not become executor until after the person who made the will (know as the testator) dies and a court has actually appointed that person as executor. Bear in mind that appointment is not automatic. There are instances in which others will successfully challenge the nomination of the executor. So, until the testator dies, there is no executor and the person nominated to be executor will only know he or she has been nominated if the testator tells him/her. Similarly, if the testator changes the will later to switch executors, the nominated person will only know he or she has been removed from nomination as executor if the testator informs him/her of it.

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