Probate Information


Overview

To probate an estate, you must go to the Circuit Court of the county in which the decedent resided at the time of death. Those who had resided within the city limits of Falls Church must report to the Arlington County Circuit Court, and those residing within the limits of the City of Alexandria must report to the Circuit Court of Alexandria.  If the decedent died in a nursing home or similar institution, then that person’s residence is presumed to be where he or she resided prior to becoming a patient at such home.

It is necessary to probate an estate when the decedent has solely held assets; that is, assets which do not have a joint or co-owner with rights of survivorship, a beneficiary (on the security or account, not in the Will) or a pay on death designee. Assets include real property and personal property. Personal property includes bank accounts, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, life insurance policies and other types of securities as well as personal belongings and vehicles.

Federal tax questions must be answered by the IRS.

For more detailed information please see the Administration of EstatesPDF icon booklet.

What To Bring To The Appointment

If the decedent died with a Will, bring the following with you to your appointment with the Probate Office:

  • The original Will.
  • A certified copy of the death certificate.
  • Witnesses to the Will or depositions of witnesses, unless the Will is self-proving. (If the Will is self-proving, you do not need to bring the witnesses to the Will or depositions of the witnesses.)
  • A named executor residing outside of Virginia who wishes to be appointed as executor must bring a Virginia resident to the appointment to either co-qualify or be designated as a registered agent; VA Code §64.2-1426 governs which procedure to follow.
  • The approximate dollar value of the solely owned assets for both personal property (stocks, bonds, bank accounts, automobiles etc.) and the fair market value of real estate located in Virginia which must pass through probate.
  • The names, ages and addresses of the heirs at law. The heirs at law are not necessarily the beneficiaries of the Will. Heirs at law are determined by kinship to the deceased and are set by Virginia law. VA Code §64.2-200
  • If the executor named in the Will does not wish to serve, they must submit a notarized renunciation letter or a Waiver of Qualification form. If the named executor is deceased, a certified copy of the death certificate is required.
  • Cash or check to pay fees. Visa and MasterCard are also accepted. Please note that there is a 4% processing fee for each credit card transaction.
  • Valid photo identification.

If you are not sure if a Will is self-proving, a Probate Clerk will examine the Will during your appointment and will issue deposition forms to be completed by the witnesses, if necessary. We are unable to determine if the Will is self-proving over the telephone; an appointment must be made.

If the decedent left no Will, bring the following with you to your appointment with the Probate Office:

  • A certified copy of the death certificate.
  • Names, ages, and addresses of heirs at law. The heirs at law are determined by kinship to the deceased and are set forth in the Code of Virginia. VA Code §64.2-200
  • An administrator residing outside of Virginia who wishes to be appointed as Administrator must bring a Virginia resident to the appointment to either co-qualify or be designated as a registered agent; VA Code §64.2-1426 governs which procedure to follow.
  • The person(s) having preference of appointment as Administrator for an Intestate Estate is set forth in the Code of Virginia. VA Code §64.2-502
  • The approximate dollar value of the solely owned assets for both personal property (stocks, bonds, bank accounts, automobiles etc.) and the fair market value of real estate located in Virginia which must pass through probate.
  • Cash or check to pay fees. Visa and MasterCard are also accepted. Please note that there is a 4% processing fee for each credit card transaction.
  • Valid photo identification.

Office Location And Hours of Appointments

The Fairfax Probate office is located at the Fairfax County Courthouse at 4110 Chain Bridge Road, in Fairfax City. The office is located on the fourth floor in Suite 401. To ensure quality assistance, appointments are made to meet with a Probate clerk at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, and 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Fridays. Please call 703-691-7320 (press 3, 8) to make an appointment.

The Probate Division makes every effort to take appointments on time. Please allow an extra 30 to 45 minutes to park and get through security.  If you arrive early it is possible that you will also be seen early. Due to staffing shortages, if you are more than 15 minutes late, we will make every effort to accommodate you; however, we reserve the right to cancel your appointment.

Fee Information

Fiduciary FeesPDF icon are based on the amount of the estate to be probated. Fees are calculated during the appointment and cannot be given over the telephone.



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