Probate/Qualification Instructions

  1. The executor or administrator must:

    1. Obtain the death certificate and will, if there is one.
    2. Determine the value of the estate. Compute separate sub-totals for real estate/property and personal estate/property.
      1. Real Estate/Property - The value of all real estate that was solely in the decedent's name. Do not include property that was held jointly with the right of survivorship, unless both parties are deceased. The local county/city assessment will be used to determine the value. Dinwiddie County's assessments can be viewed online. The tax map also has the assessments. Do not deduct any mortgages or debts on the property.
      2. Personal Estate - Personal assets that were in the decedent's name only at the time of his/her death which may include, but not limited to: bank accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, life insurance policies and other types of securities, as well as personal belongings and vehicles. Do not include accounts that are held jointly or assets payable to a named beneficiary (e.g. life insurance policies with a named beneficiary) or assets in a trust or assets payable on death. Estimate the fair market value of the assets as of the decedent's date of death. Sometimes you will only have an estimate of the value. An estimate is sufficient but try to make it as close as possible. Do not deduct debts owed, loans or mortgage amounts.
  2. Determine the legal heirs as defined in 64.2-200.

    1. The surviving spouse, unless there are children of the decedent with someone other than with the surviving spouse, in which case, one-third passes to the surviving spouse and the remaining two-thirds is divided among all children.
    2. If no surviving spouse, all assets pass to the children and their descendants.
    3. If none, then all assets pass to the deceased's father and mother, or the survivor.
    4. If none, then all assets pass to the deceased's brothers and sisters or their descendants.
  3. Fill out this form.

  4. Call or email the Clerk, J. Barrett Chappell, Jr., to setup an appointment.

  5. Please bring the following documents with you to the appointment:

    1. The original Will, if there is one. The will must be the original. The Clerk does not have the authority to probate a copy of a will
    2. Death Certificate
    3. Check, cash or credit card for the taxes and fees
  6. At the appointment, the Clerk will prepare the following forms for you to sign:

    1. List of Heirs (PDF)
    2. Probate Information Form (PDF)
    3. Probate Tax Return (PDF)
    4. Fiduciary Bond
    5. Oath of Office
  7. In addition to signing the forms, you are required to pay the State Probate tax and probate/qualification fees.

    1. State Tax is $1.00 per $1,000.00. Currently, Dinwiddie County does not charge a local probate tax.
    2. Probate and Qualification fees will vary depending on the type of estate but it will usually range from $20.00 to $100.00. The statutes may change annually; therefore, check with the Clerk if you need an exact figure. You can pay by cash, check, money order or credit card (Visa/Mastercard).
  8. At the end of the Executor/Administrator qualification process, you will receive all or some of the following (depending on type of qualification):

    1. Certificate of Qualification - This form will give you access to bank accounts and allow you to open an estate account with the bank.
    2. Notice Regarding Estate (PDF) - This form is required to be mailed to persons entitled pursuant to § 64.2-508.
    3. Affidavit of Notice Regarding Estate (PDF) - This form states who was sent notice required in number 2 above.
    4. Letter from the Commissioner of Accounts (PDF)
    5. Inventory Form (PDF) - The inventory is required to be filled out by the personal representative for estates over $15,000 and submitted to the Commissioner of Accounts within 4 months.
    6. How to Complete the Inventory (PDF) - Instructions to help in completing the inventory.
    7. Important Deadlines to Remember - This form will have the dates the Affidavit of Notice and Inventory are due.
  9. After your qualification appointment, the Clerk will record the following public documents:

    1. The Will (if the decedent died with a Will)
    2. The Probate Clerk’s Order
    3. The List of the Heirs
    4. Probate Information form
    5. The Bond
    6. The Affidavit of Notice Regarding Estate

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