Formal Qualification Process (Testate)

All prospective executors should bring the following items:

  • The original, signed will
  • If the Executor named in the will does not wish to qualify, the named Executor must submit a notarized renunciation letter
  • If the Executor named in the will is deceased, the Successor Executor must bring a certified copy of the death certificate for the deceased named Executor. A certified copy of the death certificate
  • Dollar value (as of the date of death) of any solely-held personal assets
  • Fair market value (as of the date of death) of real estate in Virginia deeded solely to the deceased or the value of the percentage owned by the deceased when the real estate is deeded as tenants in common
  • Names, ages and addresses of the decedent's heirs at law. These are individuals who are legally entitled to receive an estate when there is no will, pursuant to Virginia Code §64.2-200, as amended. This list is still required in a testate situation. The heirs at law are not necessarily the beneficiaries named in the Will
  • Check, cash or credit card to pay fees calculated during the probate appointment. Get more information on credit card transactions (PDF)
  • A prospective Executor or Administrator who resides outside of Virginia who wishes to be appointed and qualified as an Executor or Administrator must bring a Virginia resident to the appointment to co-qualify or be designated as a resident agent and must post a bond with surety
  • If bond with surety is required, the surety bond company must attend your scheduled probate appointment to sign the surety bond

You may also bring the following completed forms. Please do not sign them until the time of your appointment:

Steps Involved When Meeting with a Probate Clerk

You will take an Oath of Office as Executor or Administrator and you will sign a Bond. You will also pay the required qualification fees. The Probate Clerk conducting your qualification process will also explain your duties and responsibilities as Executor or Administrator. At the end of the Executor or Administrator qualification process, you will receive all or some of the following (depending on type of qualification):

After your qualification appointment, the Clerk will record the following public documents:

  • The Will (if the decedent died with a Will)
  • The Probate Clerk's Order of Qualification
  • The List of the Heirs
  • The Bond
  • The Affidavit of Notice Regarding Estate

The Clerk will also inform the Commissioner of Accounts of your qualification as Executor/Administrator.

Basic Responsibilities of an Executor

  • To preserve the estate assets
  • To administer the estate as required first by the Code of Virginia and second by the terms of the Will, if the decedent had a will
  • Giving notice of probate to interested parties and filing an affidavit of notice
  • Filing income, inheritance, or estate taxes with the federal or state government
  • Filing an Inventory and Accounting or Statement in Lieu of Accounting with the Commissioner of Accounts Office
  • Paying all Probate fees and taxes due to the Clerk of the Circuit Court
  • Payment of debts in the order set forth by law (Virginia Code §64.2-528 as amended)
  • Disbursement of remaining assets according to the will