The Code of Virginia grants the Clerk of the Circuit Court the authority to Probate a will, and to appoint and qualify an Executor or Administrator for a Decedent's Estate. The first step in probating a will involves having the Clerk determine whether or not the will is a valid self-proving will under Virginia Statute.
The Code of Virginia has specific language which governs what a self-proving Will is. (See Virginia Code §64.2-452 Opens a New Window. and Virginia Code §64.2-453 Opens a New Window. , as amended). The Probate Clerk makes the final ruling that the Will is self-proving.
Before Probate can be conducted, you must locate the attesting witness/witnesses to the Will and then have the attesting witness/witnesses either complete a deposition to be submitted to the Probate Clerk or have the attesting witness/witnesses appear in person before the Probate Clerk to prove the Will. After the Will has been proven by the witness/witnesses, the Probate Clerk makes the final ruling to admit the Will to Probate.
Holographic Wills (those entirely in the decedent's handwriting) may be admitted to probate if it shows testamentary intent, providing the entire Will is written in the handwriting of the testator, signed by the testator and depositions of two disinterested parties who can identify the decedent's handwriting are submitted. The Probate Clerk makes the final ruling to admit a holographic will to Probate.