Probate Shortcuts in West Virginia

Save time and money when you wrap up an estate in West Virginia.

West Virginia offers a probate shortcut for "small estates." This makes it easier for survivors to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer a large amount of property using the following probate shortcut -- saving time, money, and hassle.

Simplified Probate Procedures

West Virginia has a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.

You can use the simplified small estate process in West Virginia if the value of the estate, not counting real estate, is $100,000 or less; or if the personal representative is the sole beneficiary of the estate; or if the surviving spouse is the sole beneficiary of the estate; or if all the beneficiaries state that no disputes are likely, there are enough assets to pay debts and taxes, and the executor agrees. W. Va. Code § 44-3A-5.

Under the simplified process, the executor files an affidavit (no sooner than 60 days after providing any notice required by law to close the estate) which must state:

  • that the time for filing claims has expired
  • that there are no known, unpaid claims, and
  • how the property was divided among the inheritors.

The executor must attach a waiver signed by each beneficiary to the affidavit. W. Va. Code § 44-3A-4a.

For More Information

For help determining if an estate qualifies for this probate shortcut, or handling an estate in general, see The Executor’s Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo) or Estate Planning Basics, by Denis Clifford (Nolo).

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