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Virginia Small Estate Probate

Virginia Small Estate Probate

There is no need for probate for a small estate. One needs to note the special treatment concerning 

(a) the probate of an estate having assets totaling less than $50,000, and 
(b) the payment of a sum due that is less than $15,000.

Collection of Property by Affidavit

When the total of probated assets is below $50,000, the appointment of an executor or administrator is unnecessary. Any beneficiary may execute an affidavit in order to collect the assets. 

This procedure cannot be used when there is a Pour-Over Will instructing the executor to transfer assets to a Trust. The affidavit can only be used by individuals who are beneficiaries, not a trustee.

At least 60 days after the date of death, any beneficiary of the estate may execute an affidavit, which declares as follows:

1. The value of the entire personal probate estate, wherever located, does not exceed $50,000;

2. At least 60 days have elapsed since the death of the decedent;

3. No application for the appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction;

4. The Will, if any, was duly probated and the list of heirs required by § 64.1-134 of the Code of Virginia was duly filed; and

5. The claiming successor is entitled to payment or delivery of the property, and the basis upon which such entitlement is claimed.

Any individual in possession of an estate asset may deliver or make payment to the person presenting the affidavit.Payment of Certain Small Sums

When 60 days have lapsed after the date of death and a sum due is less than $15,000, the holder may deliver such sum to the surviving spouse or to the distributee of the estate. 

The receipt executed by the distributee of the estate will be a full discharge and acquaintance releasing the holder of the sum from any further liability. 

Priority of Discharge

The holder may be any of the following:
  • Commonwealth of Virginia
  • United States
  • Employer when the amount paid is a pension
  • Corporations and their agents when the payment is regarding securities
  • For transfer of a vessel registered with the United States Bureau of Customs
  • Assets from a trust or an estate payable to a distributee who has died and where no executor has been appointed
  • Superintendent of a mental institution that is the holder of a property owned by a decedent inmate for whom no guardian or conservator had been appointed
  • Municipally operated health care facility
  • Agency for payment of welfare funds