Probate

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 Thursday's, October 19th, 2017, regularly scheduled commission meeting has been postponed and rescheduled for Thursday, October 26, 2017. The quarterly review to close estates and approve estates opened since the last quarterly review will now take place on Thursday, October 26, 2017. Thank you and sorry for any inconvenience.

 

  

Jefferson County Clerk, Jacki Shadle, and her clerks are pleased to announce that the Clerk’s office will begin accepting credit cards and electronic checks as a form of payment on April 10, 2017. The payments will be processed by Point & Pay, one of the fastest–growing companies in the convenience pay industry.

Users will pay a convenience fee of 2.5% ($2.00 minimum convenience fee) on credit card payments and a $3.00 convenience fee on e-checks up to $10,000.  It will appear as two separate payment transactions: one for the purchase and a second for the convenience fee.

We are able to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

 

Sample Credit Card Transaction:

$56 Marriage License + $2.00 Convenience Fee = $58 Transaction Total

The probate office assists in the process of administering an estate. Our probate clerks will explain the procedures. Please call ahead to schedule an appointment to ensure time to answer questions and discuss the probate process.

Please contact either clerk to make an appointment.       

Lynn Fields, Deputy Clerk
(304) 728-3210
lfields@jeffersoncountywv.org

Karen Olden, Deputy Clerk
(304) 728-3230
kolden@jeffersoncountywv.org
 

 

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Appointments generally run 45 minutes to one hour. Please allow at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment for parking.
 

Please seek legal council for assistance in the preparation of legal documents such as wills and power of attorneys. Our office is not able to assist in the preparation of these documents.

What is probate?

Probate is the procedure whereby a will is admitted to record in the clerk's office, or the process of qualifying a person as executor or administrator of an estate, or the entire process of administering an estate.
It is necessary to probate an estate when the decedent has solely-held assets; that is, assets that do not have a joint or co-owner with rights of survivorship, a beneficiary (on the security or account, not in the will), or a pay on death designee. Assets include real property, personal property, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other types of securities. 

What is the probate process?

To probate an estate in West Virginia, you must go to the county clerk’s probate office located in the county where decedent resided at the time of death.

WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU:

In order to be appointed as Personal Representative of a decedent’s estate you will need to bring the following information with you to the Jefferson County Probate Office:

1. You will need to bring a certified copy of the death certificate if the decedent died out of state. If the decedent died in Jefferson County, WV, it is not necessary to have the death certificate as long as you have the basic information on the decedent including his/her social security number.
2. The ORIGINAL will and/or codicil, if there is one.
3. The names and mailing addresses of the heirs. If you are unsure of who might be an heir we will assist you upon you’re arrival to our office.
4. The approximate value of all personal property held SOLELY in the decedent’s name, excluding real estate.
5. In cases where there is no will, you will need to make arrangements to bring someone other than yourself who owns real estate in Jefferson County, WV to come with you. If this person resides in a county other than Jefferson County, they will need to get a Justification of Surety from their county courthouse. This is to act as surety on your bond. If you are an out-of-state resident, you will need to be bonded through an insurance company. The probate office will make these arrangements for you. There is an additional fee for an insurance bond. In some cases when there is a will, it may be required to have surety for your bond as well.


Once this information is provided to the probate office, you will need to sign papers to be appointed as personal representative. There are some circumstances in which you may not be able to qualify on your first visit. There is a qualification fee which varies. This fee is normally between $70 and $100 depending on several factors including whether or not you need surety. Be sure to have this with you. Currently, we can only accept cash or check.

THE APPRAISAL PROCESS


Once the appraisement booklet is filed, there is a publication. There is a 90 day waiting period for creditors or beneficiaries to put claims against the estate.

Once the waiting period is over and all claims are released, you may file the Final Accounting or Waiver of Final Settlement form. The fee for filing this form is usually $11, but can vary. This is your last step with our office. Once filed, it will go to the County Commission at their next quarterly meeting where they will look it over for final approval. 

 

Probate Terms & Definitions

Administrator: the person appointed by and qualified before the clerk to administer the decedents estate when there is no will, or when the will does not name an executor or names an executor who for some reason does not serve


Administrator CTA ("Cum Testamento Annexo" or "with the will annexed"):
an administrator of the estate other than the named executor in a will who serves when all named executors are unable to serve due to death, incapacity or renunciation of their right to serve

Beneficiary: a person or organization entitled to receive a portion of the estate

Bond: a written document in which the obligor formally recognizes an obligation to pay money in the event the obligor does not properly perform his or her duties

Certificate of Qualification: the form that the personal representative receives from the clerk at the time of qualification; it states that a person has qualified as executor or administrator and has authority to act on behalf of the estate; it is sometimes referred to as Letters Testamentary

Codicil: a supplement or an addition to a will which may explain, modify, add to, subtract from, qualify, alter, restrain, or revoke provisions in an existing will

Creditor: a person or organization owed money by the decedent

Decedent: the deceased person

Estate: the decedent's property, including real estate, personal property and all other assets owned or controlled by decedent at the time of his/her death

Executor: the person named in decedent's will to administer the estate; to accept the appointment, the executor must qualify before the clerk

Fiduciary: a person in a position of trust with respect to another's property; a general term used to refer to executor, administrator or trustee

Heirs at Law: a person(s) who would inherit the decedent's estate if the decedent died without a will

Holographic Will: a will written entirely by the testator with his own hand and not witnessed/attested

Intestate Estate: an estate to be administered without a will

Inventory: a detailed list of articles; a list or schedule of property containing designation or description of such specific article

Personal Representative: either the executor or the administrator of the estate

Probate: the procedure whereby a will is admitted to record in the clerk's office; it is also used to include the process of qualifying a person as an executor or administrator of an estate; it sometimes is referred to as the entire process of administering an estate

Qualification: the procedure whereby a person is appointed by the clerk to serve as executor or administrator of a decedent's estate

Self-Proved Will: a will that includes a notarized affidavit of the testator and attesting witnesses (see Virginia Code §64.1-87.1 & Virginia Code §64.1-87.2, as amended, for specific language)

Testator: one who dies leaving a will

Testate Estate: an estate to be administered pursuant to a will

Will: a written document that gives instructions on how a person wants his or her property distributed after death