FAQs

Q:

My siblings are mad because I was named as Executor. Can they get in the way of my appointment by the Court?

A.

Generally speaking, if the Will is valid and you can serve, it could be extremely difficult and costly for someone to try to prevent you from being appointed. There are circumstances in which a named Executor will not end up serving as such, and we certainly can discuss this with you if there is concern.

Q:

I was named Executor in mother’s Will. Will my recent bankruptcy prevent me from handling her Estate?

A.

If you will be required to post a bond “with surety,” a bankruptcy will present difficult challenges. Why? Your credit must be acceptable to the insurance company that issues policies for Executors. If your credit is not acceptable due to bankruptcy or other problems, you could be unable to serve as Executor. Counsel can assist in resolving this kind of difficulty.

Q:

What is a conservator?

A.

The conservator is the person or agency that handles the finances of the incapacitated person, reports to the Court every year and generally manages the money and property of the incapacitated person. The conservator must post a bond

Q:

What is a “guardian ad litem?”

A.

This is a lawyer who has had special training and certification by the Virginia Supreme Court. The guardian ad litem is responsible for protecting the “best interest” of the allegedly incapacitated person. He or she also is expected to ensure that the case is properly before the Court, perform an investigation, file a thorough report with the Court and appear at all hearings in the case.

Q:

Does the guardian take care of the sick person’s money and property?

A.

The guardian does not have the authority to handle money and property.

Q:

Does the guardian have to be a family member?

A.

No. Any appropriate person or agency who is deemed to be fit for the job may be appointed.

Q:

Who supervises the guardian?

A.

The guardian must file annual reports with the local Department of Human Services. He or she must respond to the Court if any irregularities are suspected.

Q:

What if there is no Will?

A.

The laws contained in Virginia Code Title 64.2 direct the proper application of assets to debts, and the law also establishes “who gets what” once all debts have been paid. Sometimes relatives who never even knew the decedent end up inheriting the estate simply because there was no Will.

Q:

Does the Executor have to report anything to the Court about what he is doing?

A.

Yes. If he was appointed by the Court in anything other than a “small estate,” an inventory and annual accountings must be filed with the Court through its Commissioner of Accounts.