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Take The Time To Get Answers For Your Estate And Probate Questions

The world of estate plans, estate administration and probate are full of questions. They are topics that many people prefer not to think about until it is too late. At Radford & Wandrei, P.C., I believe that everyone should take the opportunity to learn as much as they can about these issues. My name is Steven Wandrei, and I am an attorney who helps Bedford area clients with estate and probate law.

On this page, I have answered some of my clients’ questions that they frequently pose to me.

What is an estate plan and how does an estate plan differ from a will?

An estate plan is a broad term for several legal documents that address your end-of-life plans. One of the most important of these documents is a will, which identifies your beneficiaries and tells your executor how to distribute your assets. An estate plan should also have a health care proxy, a power of attorney, an advance care directive and possibly one or more trusts.

What happens if my loved one dies without a will?

When someone dies intestate – or without a will – their estate must go through probate. This means that a court will follow Virginia’s laws to name the decedent’s beneficiaries and distribute their assets.

Is estate administration the same as probate?

Although the two processes have similarities, they are not the same thing. Probate refers to the legal procedure in which the court validates a decedent’s will, names an administrator if necessary and distributes the assets of an estate. Estate administration refers to the duties of an executor or administrator – for instance, contacting beneficiaries, accounting for all assets and paying outstanding debts.

Why do people try to avoid probate? And what steps can I do to avoid probate in Virginia?

Probate can be a long, drawn-out process. It can be very stressful, especially when you are coping with the death of someone you love. Probate can also rack up high legal fees depending on how involved with the process your lawyer becomes.

The best way to avoid or minimize probate is to work with an attorney to set up a strategic estate plan. By using trusts and other tools, you can prevent a significant portion of your estate – or sometimes all of it – from going through probate.

Reach Out To Get More Answers

By asking more questions to an attorney, you can have greater peace of mind and are one step closer to understanding estate and probate law. Reach out to me and I would be happy to help you learn more about what you want to know. To set up a consultation, please call 540-999-4272 or send me an email.