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Thread: Small Estate Affidavit vs Probate in VA Virginia

  1. #1
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    Default Small Estate Affidavit vs Probate in VA Virginia

    I need to settle my father's estate and was told the best way to go is through probate rather than a small estate affidavit. The total amount of the estate is probably about $13,000 total. This includes funds that:

    a) are not within a trust
    b) are not in a POD or TOD account
    c) are not in a joint bank account

    The advice I received was from someone at the court, not a lawyer. She mentioned that not all banks will take a small estate affidavit and will require official forms from the bank in order to allow me access to close out the accounts. Is this true?

    Also, I hear getting a tax ID is required for probate. Is getting a tax ID also required for a small estate affidavit?

    Thanks!

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    You might check with the banks involved & see what they will accept.

    Per my reference, "generally" a tax ID # is not required if requirements for
    small estate are met & there is no probate.

    You can ask the court clerk - they can answer "general" questions but
    cannot give you legal advice. You can always contact an attorney with
    any questions.

    Below are links on administration of decedent's estate in Va. (including a chapter on small estates); & a copy of the small estate affidavit.

    http://216.230.13.18/adminguide.pdf

    http://www.pwcgov.org/docLibrary/PDF/12874.pdf
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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    I used a small estate affidavit to settle my grandmother's estate in Alexandria, VA and did not have any issues with her bank accepting it.

    I do think it varies from bank to bank, however. While my grandmother was still alive, she granted me POA so that I could cash some of her CDs in order to pay her increased expenses when she needed nurses coming in every day. The savings and loan where those CDs were held insisted that, not only did my grandmother have to execute their POA form instead of the one drawn up by an attorney, they had to be able to witness her sign their form in their offices. When I pointed out that my grandmother, while mentally competent, was physically unable to visit their offices being 101 years old and very frail, the bank manager helpfully suggested that I could have a private ambulance bring her there. I am happy to say that that savings and loan has gone out of business.
    Last edited by Marketeer; 12-28-2011 at 08:23 AM.
    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marketeer View Post
    When I pointed out that my grandmother, while mentally competent, was physically unable to visit their offices being 101 years old and very frail, the bank manager helpfully suggested that I could have a private ambulance bring her there. I am happy to say that that savings and loan has gone out of business.
    Good grief!!

    OP; if there is anything you don't understand about the small estate affidavit, contact an attorney as suggested on the form. Also check
    with the specific bank(s) involved re what they require.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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    Thanks everyone. That admin link is very useful, Betty3!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marketeer View Post
    The savings and loan where those CDs were held insisted that, not only did my grandmother have to execute their POA form instead of the one drawn up by an attorney, they had to be able to witness her sign their form in their offices. When I pointed out that my grandmother, while mentally competent, was physically unable to visit their offices being 101 years old and very frail, the bank manager helpfully suggested that I could have a private ambulance bring her there. I am happy to say that that savings and loan has gone out of business.
    Wow! What nerve. Obviously that bank manager hasn't got a single clue. I'm so sorry you had to go through that, Marketeer. I had a similar situation. I had trouble at one time with a bank not accepting a POA done by an attorney. They wanted me to bring my father in to sign one of their POA forms but that wasn't possible. I got some advice from the lawyer that did the POA and they suggested we contact the bank's legal department. I think I lucked out and managed to somehow stumble upon a phone number of someone in a high position in their counsel. Needless to say, the issue was resolved within a day of contacting this person. The other piece of advice I got was that if I couldn't resolve the issue on my own, then my attorney can send a letter to the bank.

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    You're welcome & you have my sympathy on the passing of your Father.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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    Thank you and my sympathies on the loss of your father. Not to hijack your thread, but....

    Cashing my grandmother's CDs at the S&L was a months-long ordeal. At the time we started, she was still well enough to go out but the S&L wouldn't cash them when we brought her in because she no longer had a valid driver's license. (I wouldn't think many 101-year olds do.) The S&L suggested she give me POA so that I could cash them. They didn't tell me that it needed to be on their form. So, we had an attorney draw up the POA, had a mobile notary come to the nursing home, and have it signed, but not before three members of the nursing home staff signed affadavits attesting to my grandmother's identity, since the notary also required valid ID which she did not have.

    I took it to the S&L and that's when they told me that they wanted it on their form and that she had to sign it in their presence, being transported in an ambulance if necessary. I tried nine ways from Sunday to penetrate the voicemail jail and reach their legal department but couldn't, so I sent them a strongly worded letter and faxed a copy to the bank branch and to the CEO's office. At this point, we didn't know how we were going to pay her medical expenses if we couldn't cash the CDs. The manager offered to travel to the nursing home and witness the signature, but the called back and said he was not allowed to go to customer home for safety reasons. I asked if he could meet her in the office of the building instead of her apartment. No dice.

    I then got a call saying that they still wanted it on their form, but they were willing to let me take the forms to the nursing home and have them signed and notarized there. Even at that, they would not let me close the accounts -- they only allowed me to draw them down to the minimum balance of $1,000. This was despite the fact that I was a co-signer on three of the six CDs. So, after she passed away a few months later, I had to go back with the death certificate and close three of the accounts then send my sister (the co-signer on the others) in to close hers, which involved eight hours of driving to and from her home a few hundred miles south, and then my brother, who is at times homeless, had to be located to come in and cash out his. The manager tried to convince my brother to move the funds into a checking account at the S&L and I told him that I would rather take the funds in a stack of twenties and set fire to them in the parking lot.

    My husband, on the other hand, has POA for his elderly father (we had the same lawyer do my grandmother's) and had no issues with his father's credit union accepting it.

    I share this store to emphasize the importance of planning for long-term care, which my grandmother refused to do. She thought that, due to her advanced age, she would simply go to sleep one night and not wake up instead of needing six months of skilled nursing after contracting pneumonia. For that reason, she refused to give me POA earlier. We also realized that she should have maintained some form of photo ID (DMV-issued non-drivers license or a passport).
    Last edited by Marketeer; 12-29-2011 at 08:07 AM.
    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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    Everyone should plan for the future - even young people because you just
    never know ...
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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