Why a Will Matters to your Survivors: Security

There is a common belief that “I don’t need a will” or “it doesn’t do anything the law doesn’t already do”.  As estate attorneys, we see the issues that arise when someone passes and a will has not been put in place.  We see the extra steps the survivors are required to go through when a full estate review has not been conducted.  Despite what people say, there is value in having a will in place – and even more value in developing a comprehensive estate plan.

One example is the requirement of security.  A simple provision that you may include in a will that makes the probate process simpler for your loved ones is to add a statement telling the Virginia courts that you trust this person and that your loved one does not require “security” to qualify as your Executor.

What does this mean?  Virginia law (Virginia Code Section 64.2-505) requires that unless you tell the court via your will that you trust the person you have listed as Executor, your loved one will have to arrange with a bail bondsman to pay for an annual bond for at least the estimated value of the estate.  Most courts require additional bond in case other assets are found. Virginia does this because, unless you tell them that you trust this person, they want to insure that your beneficiaries get their share of the estate – and they do that by requiring security to “insure” the value of the estate.

But – when you have loved ones that can complete this process and you trust – this means more work and cost for your executor – and that someone your loved one does not know will have to go to court with them to qualify as executor.  We see the stress this requirement puts on the surviving loved ones – and is something that can be easily remedied with a will.

If you have questions about a will or estate plan, and how else having a will in place can make things easier on your loved ones after you pass – our attorneys can help.  Please call (804) 423.1382 or email us at info@wmmlegal.com to set up a consultation.  We would like to help.