Probate Procedures

Gloucester Probate Procedures

  1. Obtain multiple certified copies of the death certificate. The funeral home will generally provide it to you within one or two weeks after your loved one's (decedent) funeral.
  2. Obtain original Last Will and Testament of decedent, if one exists.
  3. Determine the legal heirs at law as stated in Virginia Code Section 64.1-1 (Courses of Descents Generally) and then compile the names, address, and ages for each. Determine the assets of the estate and their value. These are assets in the name of decedent only. Assets with a beneficiary or payable upon death named or joint survivor are not included in the estate.
  4. Determine probate/administration filing fees and taxes to be paid at the time of your appointment with the probate clerk. You will need to bring the appropriate funds with you to the probate appointment. These fees are as follows: 
    1. List of Heirs - $18
    2. Probate Order - $18
    3. Probate Will - $18
    4. Qualification Fees - $20 to $30
    5. Real Estate Affidavit and List of Heirs - $44
    6. State probate tax is $1 per $1,000 value of the estate
    7. Transfer Fee - $1
  5. Call the probate clerk at 804-693-2502 and schedule the probate appointment. She will gather information from you to determine if a secured bond is required. You will need to have completed steps 1 to 5 prior to your appointment.
  6. Appointment with Probate Clerk. Probate Clerk will probate the will, if there is one, and determine if the executor needs to qualify. If there is no will, the probate clerk will determine if a grant of administration is needed and for what purpose. If a grant of administration is needed, the personal representative must take an oath and give bond (secured or unsecured) before entering into his or her duties. The bond is a part of the qualification and is assurance that the personal representative shall faithfully discharge the duties of his or her office. After qualification, the probate clerk will issue a Letter or Certificate of Qualification, which will give the personal representative authority to take possession of the decedent's assets and administer his or her estate. Every personal representative, whether the decedent died with a will or not, must file a List of Heirs setting forth the legal heirs at law. Notice of Probate and/or Qualification is also required pursuant to Virginia Code § 64.1-122.2. The probate clerk will also furnish the personal representative with blank inventory and accounting forms that he or she will submit to the Commissioner of Accounts.
  7. The personal representative must, within 30 days of qualification, give notice to all heirs-at-law of the decedent, whether or not there is a will; all living and identified beneficiaries under a will, including those who are descendants of a deceased beneficiary (unless a different intention appears in the will), and beneficiaries of any trust created by the will. After the personal representative gives his or her notice of probate as required by Virginia Code § 64.1-122.2, he or she must file with the Circuit Court Clerk's Office along with filing fees of $16, within four months of qualification, an affidavit certifying that notice of probate and/or qualification was mailed or delivered to the listed persons.
  8. Within four months of qualification, the personal representative must file an inventory with the Commissioner of Accounts for Gloucester County. The probate clerk will give you the inventory form and the contact information for the Commissioner at the probate appointment
  9. Within 12 months after filing your inventory or 16 months after qualification, whichever occurs first, the personal representative is required to file an accounting of the estate records for the entire year following the inventory. In most cases, a first and final accounting is prepared and the personal representative can distribute the estate to the beneficiaries and close the estate out.