How Do I
Click to Home

Go To Search
Executor/Administrator Information
What are the basic duties of an Executor/Administrator? 
What needs to be done if the estate may be insolvent?
Who is the Commissioner of Accounts and what are the Commissioner's responsibilities?
Does the personal representative need to set up a separate estate bank account?
How can I obtain a Tax ID Number?
What taxes are there to be paid?
Do I have to pay Federal Estate Taxes?
How long does it take after qualification to complete the probate process?
Is the executor or administrator compensated?
May assets in the estate be sold?
What if the named executor wishes to be removed as such after qualifying? 
What if an in-state executor or any other personal representative residing in Virginia moves out-of-state after qualification and the estate is still open?

What are the basic duties of an Executor/Administrator? 

  • To preserve the estate
  • To administer the estate as required first by the Code of Virginia and second by the terms of the Will, if the decedent had a Will.
    • If you are uncertain on how to proceed you may need to seek legal counsel.
    • The Clerk is unable to give any legal advice.
  • Giving notice of probate to interested parties and filing an affidavit of notice.
    • Within thirty (30) days after probate and qualification, the personal representative should send notice to beneficiaries and heirs that the will has been probated and/or that a personal representative has qualified.
  • Filing income, inheritance, or estate taxes with the federal or state government.
    • At the time of filing the will or grant of administration, the probate tax must be paid. ($1.00 state probate tax per $1000.00 value of the estate where the estate value exceeds $15,000.00).
    • State taxes (consult Virginia Department of Taxation).
      • The final income tax return of the deceased must be filed.  
      • The final personal property tax return of the deceased must be filed.    
      • An income tax return for the estate (income coming to the estate after death) must be filed if there is sufficient income. 
      • A Virginia estate tax return must be filed if required (generally only required if a federal estate tax return is necessary.
    • Federal taxes (consult the IRS).

  • Filing an Inventory and Accounting or Statement in Lieu of Accounting with the Commissioner of Accounts Office.
  • The Inventory must be filed with the Commissioner of Accounts within four (4) months after the qualification date. It lists all assets in the decedent’s name or payable to the estate at their date-of-death value. 
  • Accountings, unless the estate is of a type for which the requirement to account to the Commissioner is satisfied by a sworn Statement in Lieu of Accounting, an account of what has occurred in the estate during the year must be filed annually. The first account is due sixteen (16) months after the qualification of the personal representative and should cover the first twelve (12) months following qualification. After the first account has been filed by the fiduciary, second and subsequent accounts must be filed annually, each due within four months after the end of the particular accounting period involved. At the time of qualification, the Clerk will distribute to the personal representative forms and instructions for the filing of the Inventory and Accountings. The Clerk may also distribute any specific instructions the Commissioner of Accounts may issue regarding the format and filing of the Inventory and Accountings.
  • Payment of debts in the order set forth by law (Virginia Code §64.2-528 as amended)
  • Disbursement of remaining assets according to the Will or according to intestate law.

  • What needs to be done if the estate may be insolvent?
    An insolvent estate exists where the debts of the decedent and the estate are greater than the assets of the decedent and the estate. Be very careful in handling an insolvent estate. If the estate is insolvent, you must pay the debts in a certain statutory order of priority. If you pay debts out of order, you may be personally liable for these debts under an insolvent estate.  See §64.2-528 of the Virginia Code for this information and/or consult an attorney for legal advice. 

    Who is the Commissioner of Accounts and what are the Commissioner's responsibilities?

    View the Commissioner's Webpage.

    Does the personal representative need to set up a separate estate bank account?
    Yes, the representative cannot use his or her own bank account. Once a personal representative is appointed and given a qualification certificate by the Clerk, the representative will need to obtain a Tax ID Number from the IRS or an EIN (employer identification number) for the estate. After obtaining it, the personal representative can go to a bank in Virginia and open a separate estate interest bearing checking account. It should be opened up in the name of “Estate of the (Decedent's Name); personal representative’s name & title.” The representative must be able to easily obtain proof of canceled checks (showing both sides of check) to provide to Commissioner of Accounts.

    How can I obtain a Tax ID Number?

    When you apply to open an account for an estate or a trust at any financial institution, you will be asked for the taxpayer identification number. The IRS issues taxpayer identification numbers. You must complete an SS-4 form. To obtain a taxpayer identification number, the preferred method of the IRS is as follows: 

    1. Go to https://sa.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/index.jsp
    2. Click on the link titled ‘Employer Identification Number’ 
    3. Click on “Apply for an EIN Online’ 
    4. Scroll down to click on line titled ‘Apply Online Now’ 
    5. Click on ‘Begin Application’ 
    6. Choose Estate or Trust (whichever applies to your administration) 
    7. Click ‘Continue’ – follow all instructions and complete all requested information. The IRS will provide an EIN number and confirmation page to print for your records.

    The Clerk’s Office cannot issue a taxpayer id number for an estate, trust or other entity. You will need to apply with the IRS using the form SS-4, which is located on the IRS website.  You may also call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933 to request a form.  

    This office cannot provide assistance in obtaining or completing the FORM SS-4, or in submitting it to the Internal Revenue Service. If you have any questions, please contact the Internal Revenue Service.

    What taxes are there to be paid?

    1. At the time of filing the will or grant of administration, the probate tax must be paid. ($1.00 state probate tax per $1000.00 value of the estate where the estate value exceeds $15,000.00).
    2. State taxes (consult Virginia Department of Taxation).
      1. The final income tax return of the deceased must be filed.
      2. The final personal property tax return of the deceased must be filed.
      3. An income tax return for the estate (income coming to the estate after death) must be filed if there is sufficient income.
      4. A Virginia estate tax return must be filed if required (generally only required if a federal estate tax return is necessary.
    3. Federal taxes (consult the IRS). The estate is a separate taxpayer for income tax purposes.

    Do I have to pay Federal Estate Taxes?
    Depending on the size of the estate you may have to pay Federal Estate Tax.  The IRS website has more information about Federal Estate Taxes, Procedures and Frequently Asked Questions.

    How long does it take after qualification to complete the probate process? 
    Finalization of an estate varies in time depending upon various circumstances. A personal representative must file an inventory within four months from the qualification date. A first accounting or statement in lieu of accounting must be filed within sixteen months from the qualification date. Personal representatives file these documents with the Commissioner of Accounts office.

    Is the executor or administrator compensated?
    The administration of an estate generally requires a fair amount of time and energy. Compensation is allowed. The Commissioner of Accounts must approve the compensation and generally this amount is limited to 5% of the assets handled.

    May assets in the estate be sold?
    If the decedent’s will directs that certain assets not be sold (this would include specific bequests of property owned by the decedent), those assets should not be sold unless necessary for the payment of funeral expenses, charges of administration or debts. Other assets under the personal representative’s control should be sold as soon as convenient if they are likely to decline in value. The personal representative has no authority over the decedent’s real estate unless the authority was granted by will.

    What if the named executor wishes to be removed as such after qualifying?  Only the court may remove a qualified personal representative. It may be necessary to have another personal representative ready to be appointed at the time the original personal representative is removed. The executor, like any other qualified personal representative, must present a petition for removal, and set the matter on the court’s docket call and present a proposed court order for the judge’s signature. A filing fee is required. You must file these documents, along with the filing fee. A new civil action case file will be opened. You should also reference the fiduciary case number on the documents, if applicable.

    What if an in-state executor or any other personal representative residing in Virginia moves out-of-state after qualification and the estate is still open? 
    The personal representative must then serve with a surety bond and have a resident agent appointed, or he/she may petition the court to have an in-state resident co-qualify. Please call the Probate Division to discuss this situation with a Clerk. 

    *The information on this page is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any questions please consult an attorney.


    County Connect
    FacebookTwitterYouTubeRSSInstagram