When a person dies an estate is created. An estate includes property which the decedent owned, either real or personal. The law requires that someone must administer the estate. Administration is the process of paying the decedent's outstanding debts and distributing the remaining property to his or her heirs or beneficiaries. An estate should be administered in the county in which the person that died resided in. If an individual leaves no Last Will and Testament the person in charge of the administration is called an administrator if they are male, if the person in charge is female they are called an administratrix. When there is no Last Will and Testament, the decedent is said to have died intestate, and his or her property passes by statues called Laws of Intestacy. If an individual does leave a Last Will and Testament, the person in charge is called an executor if they are male. If the person in charge is female, they are called executrix. Because the person in charge holds a position of trust, they are also referred to as fiduciary.
A Quick Overview of the Probate Process
- The personal representative needs to bring the original Last Will and Testament, death certificate, if available, social security number and a list of the names and addresses of any beneficiaries or heirs of the estate to the County Clerk's Office.
- You do not need an appointment; our office is open from 8:30 AM till 4:30 PM
- The Clerk's Office will keep and record the original Last Will and Testament. We will gladly make copies available.
- If there is no Last Will and Testament, the administrator should be prepared to post a bond. The Monroe County Clerk's Office uses Nationwide Insurance in Union as a bonding agent. Any agent who is licensed in the State of WV will be accepted.
- The initial visit to our office should take about 30 minutes.
- The amount of bond is determined by the total of probate assets of the estate.
- Once the personal representative is qualified, they are then required to complete an "Estate Appraisement and Non-probate Inventory", which will be supplied to you by our office. You will have 90 days to complete this inventory.
- Once the "Estate Appraisement and Non-probate Inventory" is returned to the Clerk's Office, a "Notice to Creditors" is placed in the local newspaper. This notice is required to be published for two consecutive weeks.
- If the "Estate Appraisement and Non-probate Inventory" is not returned within 120 days then the Clerk's Office shall publish a "Notice to Creditors."
- If an estate exceeds $200,000.00 in probate assets, the estate is referred to a Fiduciary Commissioner. The Fiduciary Commissioner will prepare the final settlement for the estate. Any creditor has 60 days from the first publication of the notice to file a claim against the estate.
- Once the 60 day period has elapsed for filing a claim, the administrator or executor may file a final accounting of the estate. This final accounting will reflect the assets and expenditures of the estate. The final settlement is then presented to the County Commission for approval.
To qualify as the personal representative when there is no Last Will and Testament: $42.00. You may be required to post a monetary bond.
To qualify as the personal representative when there is a Last Will and Testament, if the Last Will and Testament is five pages or less: $53.00 (Add $1.00 for each additional page of the Will.) You may be required to post a monetary bond.
Fee to record "Estate Appraisement and Non-Probate Inventory": $11.00
Fee to record "Final Settlement" of estate: $16.00
To File A Claim Against an Estate
To file a claim against an estate, a claim form must be sent to the County Clerk along with $6.00 to record the claim.
An In Depth Explanation of the Probate Process
For a booklet explaining the Probate Process published by Donald J. Evans, County Clerk, of the Estate Process, please click here.
Please contact our Probate Office at (304) 772-3096 with any questions.