Barboursville Wills and Probate Attorney Handles Estate Matters
Experienced Cabell County lawyer works to create and secure legacies
Creating instructions regarding the distribution of assets upon your death is an important responsibility. After someone passes away, it is equally important that terms set forth in their testamentary documents are honored. An experienced West Virginia lawyer can help you deal with these challenges effectively, no matter how complex your individual situation might be. With locations in Barboursville and Beckley, Herrenkohl Law Office drafts enforceable wills and delivers sound guidance during the probate process. I have practiced law for more than 25 years and offer knowledgeable advice on various estate planning and probate concerns.
Thorough firm drafts personalized, enforceable wills
Without a proper will, the property you accumulated over a lifetime could be allocated based on the state’s intestacy laws rather than your values and priorities. I work closely with West Virginia individuals and families to draft legal wills and other estate planning instruments that truly reflect their wishes. Whether your needs are relatively straightforward or you are looking to develop an overall strategy that addresses other elder law issues such as Medicaid planning, my firm provides high-level legal counsel.
Skillful advocate advises on the West Virginia probate system
If you have the responsibility of administering a decedent’s estate, it is worthwhile to speak with an attorney promptly so that you fully understand your options. Small estates (those where the total value of non-real estate assets are valued at $100,000 or less) do not have to go through the formal probate process. Likewise, if all of the assets are going to the decedent’s surviving spouse or the personal representative of the estate, settlement through affidavit is permitted.
When formal probate is necessary, my firm assists estate executors with the various tasks involved, such as:
- Filing the death certificate and will — To start the process, the will and a Petition for Probate must be filed in the county where the individual died. The court then appoints a personal representative for the estate, who is typically the executor named in the will.
- Bringing solely held assets into the estate — Not everything owned by a decedent becomes part of the estate. Jointly held accounts, life insurance proceeds and property held in trust bypass the probate process. Letters testamentary issued by the court indicate the personal representative has the legal authority to shift property owned by the decedent into the estate.
- Appraisement and notification — An inventory must be made of estate assets and the notice of probate must be published. Creditors of the person who has died have three months to make a claim against the estate for the payments they are owed.
- Closing order and distribution — If creditor claims, taxes and other expenses have been paid, the personal representative can petition for an order to close the estate that directs them to transfer the assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.
After someone dies and their will is read, family members or others might believe that the document does not accurately reflect the testator’s intentions. In will contests alleging fraud, duress, mistake or lack of capacity, I conduct a thorough investigation and advocate for a resolution that honors the decedent’s true wishes.
Contact a West Virginia attorney to discuss creating a will or the probate process
Herrenkohl Law Office provides knowledgeable counsel to West Virginians on the creation and enforcement of wills, including assistance with probate matters. To make an appointment for a consultation, please call 304-948-5860 or contact me online. My offices are in Barboursville and Beckley.