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Old 02-08-2010, 06:55 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: One bridge south of Clearwater Beach
Posts: 1,103

I can't speak for VA, but in Florida, for a simple will, without real estate being involved, you can easliy do it yourself and don't need a lawyer. You go to the court house probabte department and tell them you want to open the estate for probate and they give you a list of things that need to be done and the time line. You have to put a notice in the paper, once that is run, people have 6 weeks to make their claim against the estate, after the 6 weeks has elapsed, you go in front of the judge again and they will set a hearing date.At the hearing, if it is not contested, the judge will have the clerk issues orders to the claimants to receive their share. If it is a civil family where no one is contesting the will, it only cost you a couple hundred in court fees and is relatively painless. Even if there is real state involved, it can be handled without an attorney if the heirs ar civil, such as a house that is to be split between a brother and sister. The judge will order the proceeds of the sale to be paid to the court and then the court will distribute the proceeds. If the will is being contested, then an attorney will be involved and they usually end up getting more in fees than a small estate has value.
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