I recently had a client whose mother died in Virginia without a will (intestate). Nobody else in the family wanted to be responsible for the estate, so she decided to qualify as administrator. I informed her that, since her mother died intestate, she would also need to be bonded. My client was approved for bond but the bond premium was over $800.
Many people put off having a will prepared without realizing the potential complications and additional burdens that arise if they die without one.
- Unless your executor lives out of state, your will can waive surety bond. Had my client’s mother seen an attorney for a will that waived surety, any executor living in Virginia could qualify without a costly surety bond premium.
- If you have children from a previous relationship, dying without a will means any current spouse would have to share your estate with your children. In Virginia, children would inherit 2/3 of the estate and the spouse inherits the other 1/3 of the estate. Your attorney can draft a will that prevents this inheritance by statute-imposed division and instead divides your estate per your wishes.
- Your will can help prevent disagreements among family members during the administration of your estate. Having an attorney put your exact wishes in a will makes your intentions clear to any heirs, which can help abate arguments about “what you would have wanted” or “what you meant” by a certain phrase. If you are concerned about arguments, you can ask your attorney if they recommend adding language that would disinherit anyone who challenges the will after your death.
There are many benefits to having a will in Virginia. Our office works diligently to confirm clients’ wishes, draft wills in clear and comprehensive language, and advise each client based on their unique estate assets and circumstances.