Wills & Estate Administration
Probate and Estate Assistance During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Before visiting, contact the Probate Division by email, phone 804-706-7680, or fax 804-717-6797. Public service hours are 8:00-4:00, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
- At this time, full probate and qualification matters are handled by appointment only. Appointments will not be scheduled until all necessary information has been provided to Probate staff in advance.
- Probate matters require that an oath be taken so in most cases, an in-person appointment will be required, observing appropriate social distancing, of course. Probate/qualification appointments will be handled at a customer window which separates customers from staff by a glass partition. A videoconferencing approach may be an option in some situations.
- To record a will and to qualify an Executor or Administrator of a decedent’s estate, you must contact the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office in the jurisdiction in which the decedent resided at the time of death. Probate/estate matters are handled by appointment.
The personal representative (Executor or Administrator) of an estate is charged by law with numerous responsibilities.
- It is the legal obligation of the personal representative to fully understand and discharge his/her required duties.
- Further details may be obtained from the Chesterfield Circuit Court Clerk and Chesterfield County’s Commissioner of Accounts.
- An attorney or an accountant can provide assistance as well.
Scheduling a Probate Appointment
Prior to scheduling an appointment, it is helpful to provide information to the Clerk’s Office for review.
- If a will exists, provide a copy of the will and death certificate to the Probate Division by fax (804-717-6797) or email and a staff member will contact you as soon as possible after review. Please include your contact information so that staff can reach you by phone or email as necessary.
- If you are unable to fax or email, please call the Probate Division at 804-706-7680. If a will exists - please have it in hand when calling so that certain legal requirements can be confirmed.
What to Bring to a Probate/Qualification Appointment
TESTATE (with a will)
- original will (and codicils, if any) - copy not acceptable (must have original signatures and must be the most recent will executed)
- death certificate
- witnesses to will or depositions of witnesses, if not self-proving
- approximate dollar value of probate assets
- names, ages and addresses of heirs at law
- notarized waiver of executor named in will who does not wish to serve (if applicable)
- payment (payment types accepted)
- Government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license)
INTESTATE (without a will)
(Source: VCCA Probate and Estate Administration Manual)
- Executor - The person named in the decedent's will to administer the estate who accepts appointment by qualifying before the Clerk.
- Administrator - The person appointed by and qualified before the Clerk to administer the [intestate] decedent's estate.
- Trustee - Person holding property in trust. One in whom an estate, interest or power is vested.
- Decedent - The deceased person.
- Heirs - Persons who would inherit the decedent's estate if the decedent died without a will.
- Beneficiary - The person or organization entitled to receive a portion of the estate.
- Fiduciary - A person in a position of trust with respect to another's property; a general term used to refer to an executor, administrator or trustee.
- Self-Proving - Acknowledgement of the testator and the affidavits of attesting witnesses, made before an officer authorized to administer oaths.
- Qualification - Procedure whereby a person is appointed by the Clerk to serve as executor or administrator of a decedent's estate.
- Testate - Dying with a will.
- Intestate - Dying without a will.
- Certificate of Qualification - (Also called Letters of Testamentary) Formal instrument of authority and appointment given to a fiduciary by the proper court, empowering him or her to act in the capacity of a fiduciary.