Intestate Estates (died without a will)
When someone dies without a will, the Code of Virginia has specific language which governs who can obtain the power to administer the estate. (Virginia Code §64.2-502)
- During the first thirty days following the intestate's death, the Clerk may grant administration (i) to a sole distributee or his designee or (ii) in the absence of a sole distributee, to any distributee or his designee who presents written waivers of right to qualify from all other competent distributee.
- After thirty days have passed since the intestate's death, the Clerk may grant administration to the first distributee, or his designee, who applies therefore, without either waiting for any further period of time, or requiring the consent or waiver of any other distributee; provided, however, that if, during the first thirty days following the intestate's death, more than one distributee notifies the Clerk of an intent to qualify after the thirty-day period has elapsed, the Clerk shall not appoint any distributee, or his designee, until the Clerk has given all such distributee an opportunity to be heard. If more than one distributee notifies the Clerk of intent to qualify after the thirty-day period has elapsed, those distributee must petition the Court to be appointed.
- After sixty days have passed since the intestate's death, the Clerk may grant administration to one or more of the creditors or to any other person, provided such creditor or other person certifies that he has made diligent search to find an address for any sole distributee and has given not less than thirty days notice by certified mail of his intention to apply for administration to the last known address or addresses of the distributee discovered or alternatively, that he has not been able to find any such address. Qualification of a creditor or person other than a distributee is not subject to challenge on account of a failure to have made the certification herein required.
- The Court may appoint Administrators under the same conditions as herein provided for the Clerk, and when the Court determines that it is in the best interests of an intestate's estate, the Court may depart there from at any time and appoint such person as the Court, in the exercise of its discretion, deems most appropriate.
- The Court or Clerk shall not grant administration to any person unless satisfied that he is suitable and competent to perform the duties of his office. A person under a disability as defined in Virginia Code §8.01-2, as amended, is not eligible to qualify.