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Lelia Winget-Hernandez appointed Commissioner of Accounts for Powhatan County

Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel is pleased to announce that Lelia has been appointed to serve as the Commissioner of Accounts for Powhatan County. Lelia was raised in Powhatan County and opened a law office there in 2021.  This appointment is a great honor and reflects the tremendous respect members of the legal profession hold for her knowledge and service within the community.

The good news for us is that while Lelia will take on a variety of supervisory duties in this position, she will also be able to continue to provide the same dedicated service to our clients. Since many people may not familiar with the Commissioner of Accounts and the services provided by the office, we wanted to take a moment to share some details with you.

Purpose of the Commissioner of Accounts

Section 64.2-1200 of the Virginia Code orders the judges of each circuit court in the state to appoint commissioners of accounts to supervise “all fiduciaries admitted to qualify in the court or before the clerk of the court” and to “make all ex parte settlements of the fiduciaries’ accounts.” This means that the Commissioner of Accounts office oversees the work of estate administrators, executors, trustees, guardians, and conservators to ensure that they file appropriate inventories and accounts in a timely manner.

The Commissioner, along with staff, audits reports and approves all the inventories and accounts that different types of fiduciaries must file. The office ensures that accounts are filed on time.  The Commissioner can issue a summons or subpoena, or move to have delinquent fiduciaries found in contempt of Court or removed from their position if the required documents are not submitted in a timely manner.

Probate courts were traditionally called “Widow and Orphans” courts because dependents relied on these courts to protect their inheritance when a spouse, husband, or benefactor passed away. The Commissioner of Accounts exists to ensure that those who are trusted with handling money and property for others are carrying out their duties fairly and efficiently. 

Managing Paperwork Burdens

Although the role of the Commissioner of Accounts is to protect those whose interests are potentially at risk, many people don’t see the office that way. The Commissioner of Accounts office is seen as the office demanding paperwork from people who are trying to finalize the estate of a loved one, so the office is viewed by some people as the equivalent of a schoolteacher forcing them to complete assignments, and sending the papers back for additional work if they’re not correct.

The requirements on fiduciaries can be burdensome. In fact, that’s why so many people turn to attorneys for assistance when they need to administer an estate or trust. The duties need to be performed in perfect compliance with intricate laws, and that’s not easy to do unless you have considerable experience with the process.

We’re Always Available to Answer Your Questions

At Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel, we have extensive experience with estate administration, and management of fiduciary duties, and estate planning and elder law issues.

So, if you have any questions about Lelia’s new role or any aspect of elder law, estate planning, or administration, we’d be happy to talk to you. Just give us a call at 804-598-1348 or 434-589-2958.