August 26th, 2011

Last Will & Testament in VA -- Executor Duties, asset transfer

Setting: Virginia, United States
Year: Mid-1990s to current

Situation: Character Z is a divorced man estranged from his only son. His Last Will & Testament was filed in Virginia in the mid-1990s and named a non-relative, Character Q, as the executor of his estate.

I know from personal experience from filing a will and HCPOA in Ohio that the executor/executrix of the will and the HCPOA must sign the documents and have them notarized stating that they accept the responsibilities. So, Q cannot be blindsided into being named executor, right?

I read that in VA, the executor has to be qualified by the court, but my interpretation was that they didn't need to actually be there. If there was a hearing, it was just Z's lawyer presenting the will for admission to the court?

So. Q is Z's executor except ... Q has a falling out with Z and subsequently wants nothing to do with Z. When Q accepts there is no point of reconciliation, he petitions to be removed as executor.

From this website, http://www.pwcgov.org/default.aspx?topic=040052002680006232#faq11, I know that it has to be filed in court. Is Q required to be in court or can this be handled by his attorney? Is Z required to be in court for this petition? Must a new executor be named during that proceeding or is that up to the judge?

What kind of detail does Q need to give in order to be removed? something simple? He wants to keep it as vague as possible. I don't know if these are legit factors but his residence is in DC, not Virginia. Also, he travels extensively for his job, which he had when he agreed to be the executor. He's received a promotion so there is even more travel required.

The conundrums

1) Ideally, I would like Q to be thisclose to being removed as executor and then Z kills himself so that Q is forced to be executor until he can go before the court and asked to be removed. Is there such thing as an "emergency probate" court in VA where the judge could hear the case? Q does not want to handle the funeral or any of the immediacies that follow sudden death. Or is this all a moot point? Q decides he doesn't want to be an executor, Z wants him to be the executor, the judge rules for Q and boom, done?

2) Regarding the assets ... Z's will states that the films and watercolors are to be given to Q but that Q cannot sell them or gift them to a museum. Z's intention was to "keep it the family" because before the falling out, Z was a father-figure to Q. Again, I believe that there has to be a clause that states if the recipient is dead and the will doesn't have an alternative listed, that the executor can decide on how the items are distributed. Is this correct?

RESEARCH: Virginia law sites, probate courts, executor responsibilities/duties, last will & testament, PWC probate court

Working on or just off the Dole - England 1999

A fairly minor point, but I'm wondering if it's plausible for unemployed youth in Britain to be made to work at menial dead-end jobs like cleaning out an old churchyard, or gardening work on large estates that had no prospects of continuation.

They had a "Work for the Dole" thing here in Aus where you had to do "community" work on top of job-seeking. It was supposed to give you experience that would hopefully translate into better employment prospects, but what it really did was give canny councils and such a lovely supply of cheap labour to clean up overgrown nature strips and haul dead mattresses into dumpsters.

What I need is something similar, so if you know of any other scheme that would give my character access to some cheap labour to clear out their garden, preferrably through something either slightly dodgy or by manipulating a Government or Local Council scheme. Work for low-security prisoners, "training" for school students that's being touted as "work experience" but is really just getting free help, all that sort of thing.

I'd particularly love any stories from people who had to do such compulsory labour, especially if it was presented as "going to give you the skills to get a job" and was most definitely not anything like that.

Searches done: reading up on the "New Deal" through assorted sites (gave lots of "this is a good scheme" but no specifics on the sort of work people did). +"Vocational training" +1999, +"compulsory" +unemployed +labour +UK +1999, similar variations.