What is Probate?

Probate is the official proving of the Last Will and Testament of a decedent by admitting the will to record in the Circuit Court Clerk's Office within the jurisdiction where the decedent resided at the time of his or her death. A probate also appoints an executor or personal representative named within the will, or administrator when there is no will.

Starting the Process

Probate is handled through the Bristol Virginia Circuit Court Clerk's Office by appointment. Appointments are accepted Monday through Friday.

It is necessary to probate a will or estate when the decedent owns assets in his or her name at the time of death (real estate or personal) solely in his or her name.

Please bring the following with you to your appointment:

  • Original Last Will and Testament
  • Certified copy of death certificate
  • Witnesses to the Will or depositions of witnesses (if the Will is not self-proving)
  • Approximate dollar value of solely owned assets (personal property and real estate within Virginia)
  • Names, addresses, and ages of heirs at law. Heirs at law are determined by kinship to the decedent (VA Code 64.2-200)
  • Cash, check or credit card
  • Valid photo identification

Please contact 276-645-7321 to schedule an appointment.

Click here to download the Virginia Small Estate Act Affidavit