West Virginia Wills and Probate
Probating a will in West Virginia can be anything but “Wild and Wonderful." Instead, loved ones of a decedent are apt to find themselves facing a tedious, detailed, and time-intensive court process. Sophisticated financial and tax issues are prone to arise, particularly in large estates. If you have recently lost a family member in West Virginia and are struggling to cope with grief, let alone master probate issues, you may become frustrated. The obtuse legal terminology, ultra-fine print, and mass of legal documents lead many to wish they could just walk away.
Know that you are not alone in this situation; others have turned to local help in the form of wills and probate attorneys. Many astute West Virginians recognize they are able to save time, money, effort, and their sanity by partnering with veterans of the probate process who know the best practices and procedures, as well as the traps to avoid.
I Am a Personal Representative: What Do I Do Now?
A personal representative of a West Virginia estate is a fiduciary tasked with administering the decedent’s estate for the benefit of others, who may include:
- Devisees who receive real property in devises
- Legatees who receive personal property in bequests
The personal representative is customarily nominated in the will by the decedent and appointed by the district court in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death. The personal representative’s duties in West Virginia are likely to vary, but typically include some of the following tasks:
- Paying debts, claims, and expenses
- Collecting income from estate property
- Filing estate and income tax returns
- Preserving, distributing, and settling the estate.
In many cases, a personal representative is represented by a will and probate lawyer practicing in West Virginia. The attorney assists the personal representative in fulfilling herfiduciary duties to the estate.
Do I Need a Will if I Am Young or Single?
Yes. Just because you may be in college, recently graduated, or still young in your 20s or 30s, don't assume a will is not for you. Do not incorrectly conclude that if you are single and have no spouse for whom to provide, you do not need a will. Don’t believe that wills, trusts, and estates are only for those who have amassed a great deal of wealth and property. You likely have some property, even in the beginnings of adulthood, that you want to go to a family member or loved one should something happen to you. You may have a retirement account through work, inheritance, a savings account, bonds, certificates of deposit, or college fund. If so, it is wise to create a will.
Other important reasons to draft estate planning documents:
- You want your intentions followed for medical treatment if incapacitated
- You have possessions you want to remain private
- You have property or possessions you want destroyed after your death
- You have property or possessions you want to leave to a particular party
- You want to ensure continued care for a pet
Contact a West Virginia Will and Probate Lawyer Today
Will and probate lawyers routinely advise clients as to whether their existing wills or trusts are legally valid under West Virginia’s probate laws. Wills lawyers help clients seeking to reduce huge federal estate tax burdens, fees, costs, and time delays by careful estate planning. It is never too early to start the estate planning process, and there is practically no life situation in which the preparation of a will or trust is not recommended. Call now to talk with a wills and probate lawyer in West Virginia at 877-913-7222.