Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about The Probate Process.

Why do you probate an estate?

To legally administer and distribute a deceased persons estate.

Where do you probate an estate?

Probate must be done in the resident county of the deceased.

When do you probate an estate?

Within 30 days from the date of death.

Who is appointed to administer an estate?

With a will – the person named in the will to administer

Without a will – Within 30 days of death, spouse or with written consent, the majority of heirs can designate administrator/administratrix.

What do I bring to the courthouse to probate?

The original will, copy of death certificate, social security number, name and address of all heirs and the necessary fees.

Do I need an attorney?

An attorney is not required unless there are disputes among heirs of if you feel you need legal advice. The County Clerk or their staff are not able to render legal advice or legal opinions in this matter.

How long does the process take?

Approximately 6 months.

How are assets of the deceased distributed?

If the decedent had a will, assets are distributed to the named beneficiaries. If the decedent did not have a will, assets are distributed according to the West Virginia Intestate Succession Law. See the partial list below:

West Virginia Succession Law

How much are the fees?

County Clerk fees for the estate process will be approximately $58.00. This fee  does not include the surety bond. The fee for the surety bond is paid directly to the bonding company and is determined by the probate assets of the estate.