Probate Powers & Expenses?

Reasonable Funeral Expenses an Obligation of the Estate

Executor Powers Before Appointment

Executor Powers After Appointment

Q: Reasonable Funeral Expenses an Obligation of the Estate

The reasonable funeral expenses of the decedent may be reimbursed by the probate estate if the payee and the services paid for qualify. Specifically, the Virginia Probate Code provides that the authorized person may make arrangements and bind the estate for the funeral expenses and burial services. Probate issues due exist.

The issue initially becomes who is an “authorized person” and secondarily what is a “reasonable expense”. The probate question is a fact specific inquiry and a probate attorney should be consulted before making any payments if reimbursement is desired. Call the Firm and set a consultation with a probate Attorney today. 

Virginia Code Section 64.2-512 Funeral expenses

Subject to the provisions of § 64.2-528, reasonable funeral and burial expenses of a decedent shall be considered an obligation of the decedent's estate, which shall be liable for such expenses to (i) the funeral establishment, (ii) the cemetery, (iii) any third-party creditor who finances the payment of such expenses, or (iv) any person authorized to make arrangements for the funeral of the decedent who has paid such expenses. A person who is authorized to make arrangements for the funeral of the decedent shall have the authority to bind the decedent's estate for such expenses and may execute, on behalf of the estate, any necessary instruments.

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Q: Executor Powers Before Appointment

Every Executor asks what they can do before appointment by the Probate Clerk. The Virginia Code provides that the Executor may “provide for the burial of the testator, pay reasonable funeral expenses, and preserve the estate from waste”. 

Informally, the Executor does allot of things before appointment. Generally that includes making burial and funeral arrangement, notifying family and friends, taking care of pets, securing the house and vehicles, and other related things. However, many times issues arise that may not so easily be included within the statutory provision. 

So what then? Call our firm and set an appointment for a consultation with a Probate Attorney. Each probate circumstance has its own dynamics and it the decision should be made on a case by case analysis. When in doubt, call a probate attorney.

Virginia Code Section 64.2-511 Powers of executor before qualification

A person named in a will as executor shall not exercise the powers of executor until he qualifies as such by taking an oath and giving bond in the court or before the clerk where the will or an authenticated copy thereof is admitted to record, except that he may provide for the burial of the testator, pay reasonable funeral expenses, and preserve the estate from waste.


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Q: Executor Powers After Appointment

The Executor is conferred many powers after becoming appointed to the estate. However, spelling out those executor powers exactly can be complicated. 

Specifically, the Virginia Probate Code provides that the Executor shall administer, well and truly, the whole personal estate of the decedent. Consequently, the Executor's powers are limited to the personal estate of the decedent unless the Executor obtains greater power from the Court (which the Executor has power to do). In addition, there are other duties imposed by State and Federal law with regard to the Executor (administrative tasks, creditor issues, tax issues, ect). Those duties confer certain powers to an extent. 

Defining the Executor's powers can be more enlightening if the Will incorporates a certain Virginia Statute by reference and gives the Executor said powers included within that statute. If the Will incorporates Virginia Code Section 64.2-105 then those powers included in said statute will become the powers of the executor as provided in the statute. 

In reality, it is more easy to define what powers are not expressly conferred on the Executor than powers that are expressly conferred on the executor. Consequently, executors should consult a probate attorney when taking any action. 

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The Lenzi Law Firm, PLLC assists clients throughout Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. including Fort Washington, Falls Church, Ft. Myer, Vienna, Rosslyn, Springfield, Mount Vernon, Annandale, Fort Belvoir, Fairfax, Dunn Loring, Merrifield, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Burke, Great Falls, Fredericksburg, Stafford and Herndon in Arlington County, Alexandria County, & Fairfax County.

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