Fiduciary & Probate

Monongalia County Clerk Probate Office

Appointments can be made Monday-Friday between the hours of 9:30-4:45. Keep in mind each appointment can take up to an hour. To schedule an appointment use our software below or call our office at:
(304)291-7230

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ #1: What is probate?
Probate is a term used to describe the entire administration of a decedent's estate. This includes the distribution of assets, debts, and costs of administration.
FAQ #2: Why probate?
If a will is not probated, assets will not be distributed to the beneficiaries in the manner in which you would prefer.
FAQ #3: When should I begin the probate process?
The decedents will must be brought to a county clerk or a named executor within 30 days of a decedents death.
FAQ #4: What is an executor?
An executor is a person appointed in your will who is responsible for compiling your assets, paying off any lingering debts, and distributing property and belongings in accordance to your will.
FAQ #5: Who should I appoint as an executor?
When appointing an executor you should consider candidates who are honest, intelligent, and willing to assume the role.
FAQ #6: How many executors should I select?
There are many factors that should contribute to the number of executors chosen.Health and age must be put into consideration when choosing executors, but up to three would be sufficient.
FAQ #7: What if I do not select an executor?
If no executor is selected, the county commission will select an administrator to act as the executor.
FAQ #8: Is my will recorded in the courthouse?
Not in the state of West Virginia. The original will should be kept in a safe deposit box in a bank. It is also imperative that the executor is allowed access to the box following your death. If this procedure is not achieved it is very difficult to retrieve the will and bring it to the courthouse.
FAQ #9: Does the attorney keep the Will?
No, Attorneys do not keep the original will.
FAQ #10: How many witnesses are required during a will signing?
Two people who are not involved in your estate are required.

Important Terms:

  • The Decedent- the deceased person
  • The Executor- the person(s) named to carry out the provisions of a will. Male would be named executor. Female would be named as executrix.
  • The Administrator- The person(s) who qualifies and becomes bonded when there is not a will. Male would be named as administrator. Female would be named as administratrix.
  • The Fiduciary Commissioner- person who has general supervision of all fiduciary matters that are referred to him or her. Duties are very similar to that of a judge. Present law requires estates assigned to a fiduciary commissioner when there is more than one beneficiary or heir and the probate assets are over $100,000 (excluding specifically devised real estate).
  • The beneficiaries- person(s) named in a will when referring to estate matters (WV code 42-1-1(2) describes all aspects. Also referred to as a "Devisee." When a person dies intestate, those who inherit would be referred to as heirs or distributees of the estate.
  • The creditors- person or company to whom a debt is owed by the decedent
  • The County Clerk- person elected to office, referred to also as the Clerk of the County Commission. Referring to WV Code 7-7-7, in our county, the clerk has chosen to designate two of his assistants as responsible for all probate matters.
  • Intestate- dying without a will
  • Nonprobatable asset- an asset that changes title by a means outside of probate by contract or by trust.