Probate in Virginia

If a resident of York County or the City of Poquoson dies, his or her will should be probated in the York County - Poquoson Circuit Court Clerk's Office. If the person died in a nursing home or similar institution, that person's residence is presumed to be where he or she resided prior to becoming a patient at such home. The Circuit Court Clerk also has the authority to qualify the executor of the will. If the person dies without a will, the York County - Poquoson Circuit Court Clerk has the authority to qualify the administrator of the estate.

Appointment of an Executor or Administrator

The appointment of an executor or administrator is not always required. This is usually true where the estate is small and for payment of small sums by certain government, occupational, and banking agencies. In these circumstances, the will is probated and nothing further is required.

Other instances where formal qualification or administration may not be required are joint accounts with right of survivor-ship in banks, saving and loan associations, or credit unions. Information regarding transferring a motor vehicle title may be obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles. In most cases, the payment of life insurance proceeds to a named beneficiary and the transfer of real estate to a surviving spouse or other person where there were survivor-ship rights in the deed occur outside the estate.

Starting the Process

Although there is no set time frame in which a will must be probated or estate administration must be started, it is recommended that the initial steps in the estate process start within 30 days after death. To probate a will or qualify as administrator or executor, an appointment must be made with the clerk or a deputy clerk by calling 757-890-4106.

The person offering the will for probate or seeking to qualify should have available at the appointment: the original will, if there is one; an official death certificate; the names, addresses, and ages of the heirs-at-law of the person who died; and the approximate value of assets owned by the person who died. At the time of filing the will or qualifying as administrator of the estate, the probate tax of $1 per $1,000 value of the estate must be paid. For Example: If the estate value is $50,000, then the State tax would be $50. York County and the City of Poquoson do not collect a local tax on estates. There are also recording fees at the time of probate.

Contact Information

After an administrator or executor has qualified to serve, he or she will be required to make reports to D. Wayne Moore of the Commissioner of Accounts for the County of York and City of Poquoson. His office is in the Courthouse at:
300 Ballard Street
Yorktown, VA 23690

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

His mailing address is:
P.O. Box 291
Yorktown, Virginia 23690
Phone: 757-890-4173

Additional useful information may be found at the Virginia Bar Association website.