Virginia Probate: Who is involved in the process?

Virginia probate is a complicated, lengthy process depending on the type of estate that you are dealing with. However, there are several people who will likely be involved throughout the probate process. If you have been appointed as administrator or executor, you need to be familiar with these people and their role.

So who are these people, and what do they do?

Commissioner of Accounts

The Commissioner of Accounts (“COA”) is an individual that is appointed to an estate to make sure that all the financial aspects of the estate are treated properly. The COA is typically an attorney, and the COA has significant power in probate proceedings. For example, the COA can demand inventories and accountings of an estate. The COA also has the ability to prolong proceedings and bring independent actions against an administrator or an executor if they have failed to properly perform their duties.

Therefore, It is important to listen to the COA when you are probating an estate. They can be an invaluable asset in getting the estate resolved. However, they can also be a powerful enemy if you have failed to properly perform your duties.

Probate Clerk

Each court in Virginia has a number of clerks. These clerks are there to make sure that the appropriate documentation is filed with the court in order for the case to start. There are several different types of clerks including land records clerks and probate clerks. A probate clerk’s job is to sit down with the person who intends to administer the estate and to explain what documents are necessary in order to begin.

It is important to work with the probate clerk in your local area to determine what local rules there may be. Failure to adhere to these rules may prolong the administration of the estate.


An estate may also have several people that money is owed to. These are creditors. A creditor representative can file claims against an estate. It is important to work with the creditor representative to determine how much is owed on the debt and how that debt will be treated during probate.

Bonding Company

Sometimes, you may be required to post a bond if the will wasn’t properly drafted. A bond company may be involved in helping you post a bond with the court to cover the liability of probating the estate. It is important to work with your bond company representative to determine how much of a bond is required, and how that bond is treated.

Why you need a probate lawyer.

With all these moving parts, it is easy to get lost in probate proceedings. A lawyer can help you navigate interacting with these various representatives and to make sure you do your job properly. Failure to properly administer an estate could subject you to personal liability. If you are considering qualifying to probate an estate, seek legal help.