Does an LLC have to go through probate if you die?

As a Virginia estate planning attorney, I often hear concerns from clients about the probate process and how to avoid it. Probate can be a lengthy, costly, and often complex process in Virginia, and many people want to find ways to minimize its impact on their estate and their loved ones. For individuals who own an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in Virginia, there are multiple options they can take to help avoid probate.

One of the key benefits of an LLC is that it provides a clear separation between personal and business assets. By designating a successor for the business in the operating agreement, the LLC can continue to operate smoothly even if the owner passes away. This can help to minimize the impact of probate on the business and ensure that it continues to generate income for the owner’s estate and beneficiaries. The operating agreement can also be updated to allow for the LLC to be liquidated so that assets can be distributed as you desire.

Another way to avoid probate with an LLC in Virginia is to create a trust and assign your LLC interest to the trust. Then, in the trust document, you explain how the LLC is to be managed after you die. The trust allows for a seamless transfer of authority from you to your successor.

It is also important to have a comprehensive estate plan in place, which includes a will, trust, and any other necessary documents, in compliance with Virginia law. This can help to ensure that the your wishes are clearly stated and carried out in accordance with Virginia law.

Finally, it is essential to regularly review and update the operating agreement and other estate planning documents to ensure they are current. It is also a good idea to work with a Virginia estate planning attorney to review these documents and make any necessary changes in compliance with Virginia law.

In conclusion, for individuals who own an LLC in Virginia, probate can be avoided. Consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure that your assets are protected and your wishes are carried out as intended in accordance with Virginia law. Mathews Law loves working with business owners. Set up a free consultation here.

Announcing a New Service: The Guidance Meeting for Executors

We are excited to announce the launch of our new service, the Guidance Meeting for Executors. Estate Planning involves naming multiple decision-makers such as a financial agent, health care agent, personal representative to settle your estate, and trustee to manage your trust if you choose to create one. We know that once the time comes that the decision-makers must take action, it can be difficult to know what needs to be done. For instance, a personal representative or trustee who has never settled an estate may not know what steps to take. That’s why we are offering this new service to help ensure that everyone involved in executing your estate plan is on the same page and knows what to do.

During the Guidance Meeting for Executors, Lisa Mathews, Esquire, meets with all of the agents named in a client’s estate planning documents and anyone else that the client would like to invite. Ms. Mathews will provide information and answer any questions that agents may have regarding their role in executing your estate plan. This service will help ensure that everyone involved has a clear understanding of their responsibilities and obligations, reducing the risk of misunderstandings or miscommunications down the line.

Please note that this service is an additional fee and is not included in our standard estate planning services. However, we believe that the peace of mind and security that the Guidance Meeting for Executors provides is well worth the investment.

If you are interested in scheduling a Guidance Meeting for Executors or discussing how Mathews Law can help you create your Estate Plan, please schedule an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you!

What is a Standby Guardian Designation in Virginia?

Have you ever thought about who would take care of your minor children if something were to happen to you? In Virginia, parents can name a standby guardian to step in as a parent if needed. Virginia’s statute clarifies that the guardian only steps in when a certain triggering event has occurred, such as incapacity, deportation, incarceration, debilitation, or death. In the case of death, the standby guardian would care for the children until their new, permanent guardian steps in.

A standby guardian designation is simple to implement. The parent simply needs to execute a document that states the name, address, and birthdate of the child affected as well as the triggering event which must occur for the guardian to step in. The document must also provide the name and address of the person who is designated as standby guardian. The document may also name an alternate if the first choice is unavailable. The document does not need to be notarized or witnessed.

To take effect, the triggering event must have occurred, and the standby guardian must present the document to a court. The court then enters an order approving the designating guardian (unless the court finds that the standby guardian is incompetent, or that the designation is not in the best interests of the minor child). In the case of incapacity, debilitation, or death, the standby guardian must also present documents that demonstrate that the triggering event has occurred.

A standby guardian has full authority as guardian of the child unless the designation form states otherwise. Parents may execute a standby guardian designation and then change the designation at any time by executing a subsequent, inconsistent designation.

A standby guardian designation can be a very helpful part of a comprehensive estate plan for parents of minor children. This is an often-forgotten document that serves an important purpose.

Mathews Law includes a standby guardian designation document with every estate plan for parents of minor children! To set up a free consultation, please click here or call 866-980-0838.

How Would Your Death Impact Your Child?

As parents, we all want to ensure that our children are taken care of and protected, even in the event of our deaths. However, many parents may not consider the impact that their deaths would have on their minor children when creating their estate plan.

Estate planning is not just about distributing your assets and property, it is also about making sure that your children are provided for and protected in the event of your death. This includes not only financial considerations, but also emotional and practical ones.

“Parental death is one of the most traumatic events that can occur in childhood….and reviews of the literature indicate that parental death places children at risk for many negative outcomes, including mental health problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, post-traumatic stress symptoms), traumatic grief (e.g., a yearning for the deceased and lack of acceptance of the death), lower academic success and self-esteem, and greater external locus of control.” Rachel A. Haine, Tim S. Ayers, Irwin N. Sandler and Sharlene A. Wolchik, Evidence-Based Practices for Parentally Bereaved Children and Their Families, 39 Prof Psychol Res Pr. 133-121 (2008).

One of the most important things to consider when planning for the care of your minor children is who will be their legal guardian. This is the person who will take on the responsibility of raising your children and making important decisions on their behalf. It is important to choose someone who you trust and who shares your values and beliefs about parenting.

However, as you consider who should have this important role, consider, among other things, who would be best to guide your children as they deal with the emotional and psychological impact of your death. Can your chosen guardian handle the behavioral changes that your children may experience? Would your chosen guardian know when and how to seek professional help for your children?

Another important aspect to consider is the financial support of your children. This includes providing for their basic needs such as food, clothing, and housing, as well as their education and other expenses. And most parents would benefit by creating a trust such that assets can be managed and distributed according to their wishes.

As a parent planning for your children’s financial needs, don’t forget about what other needs your children may have that may be different than had you remained alive, such as counseling or therapy, frequent visits to extended family, and so on. Parents should strongly consider purchasing life insurance to ensure that their children are cared for properly. 

Overall, estate planning is not just about your assets, it is also about ensuring that your children are taken care of and protected in the event of your death. As a parent, it is important to consider the impact that your death would have on your children and to take the necessary steps to plan for that impact. By working with a qualified estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your children’s future is secure and that they will be provided for in the event of your death.

Mathews Law offers free consultations. Please set up an appointment by call 866.980.0838 or clicking here to book a time yourself.

Attention Virginia Parents: Free January 2023 Webinar

Join us for a webinar on January 19, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.!

The BEST EVER estate planning seminar for parents of minor children!

Mathews Law is presenting the best ever webinar for parents of minor children to make sure that your little rascals are cared for. We will cover:
-What estate planning is (hint: it is NOT just creating a will) and why it is vital that every parent has a written, comprehensive estate plan.
-How specific assets (for instance your home, your retirement account, your investments) can be best preserved and passed to your children with the least amount of risk.
-Pros and cons of the more common estate planning strategies (will, pot trust, revocable living trust).
-Practical steps you can take right now to prepare for death or disability.
-How to choose your decision makers.
-Tips to avoid court oversight for administration of your estate.
-Important information to help your loved ones avoid disputes upon your disability or death.
-How to choose guardians for your children should you die or become disabled (and special information for single parents who may not want the other parent to become the guardian).
-And so much more!

Every participant will get a free gift from Mathews Law (a helpful worksheet to help your loved ones know what to do in the event of your death or disability) and a special discount on Mathews Law services!

Register here: Workshops – Mathews Law, PLLC (

New Year, New Goals. Create or update your estate plan!

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” —Thomas Jefferson

The start of a new year is a great time to reassess your priorities and make positive changes in your life. One important step you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones is to create an estate plan. An estate plan is more than just creating a will. Estate planning involves creating a comprehensive plan for your own disability and death.

Estate planning is incredibly important! Here are a few reasons why you should consider creating an estate plan in the new year:

  1. To ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes: Without an estate plan, Virginia law will dictate how your assets are distributed upon your death. By creating a will or trust, you can specify exactly who you want to receive your assets and in what proportions.
  2. To appoint a guardian for your minor children: If you have minor children, it’s important to appoint a guardian to take care of them in the event that you are no longer able to do so. Without an estate plan, the court will decide who will become the guardian of your children.
  3. To plan for long-term care: If you become incapacitated due to illness or injury, it’s important to have a plan in place for managing your assets and healthcare decisions. By setting up a durable power of attorney and a healthcare proxy, you can appoint trusted individuals to make decisions on your behalf.
  4. To minimize probate: Probate is the legal process of distributing a person’s assets after their death. It can be a lengthy and costly process, especially if there is a dispute over the distribution of assets. By creating an estate plan, you can minimize the need for probate and ensure that your assets are distributed smoothly and efficiently.
  5. To reduce stress for your loved ones: Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough without having to worry about managing their assets and making important decisions. An estate plan can help reduce stress for your loved ones by providing clear instructions and guidance on how to handle your affairs after your death.

By creating an estate plan, you can protect your assets and ensure that they are preserved for your loved ones. Don’t put off this important task – start the new year off right by getting your estate plan in place. If you have any questions or need assistance with your estate plan, please set up a consultation with Mathews Law here.


After your estate plan is drafted, we will send it to you for your review. At minimum, you should confirm:

  • Your name(s) are spelled correctly
  • The names of your beneficiaries and decision-makers (referenced as agents) are accurate
  • The names of your beneficiaries and decision-makers are spelled correctly
  • Beneficiary distribution instructions are stated as you intended

Some clients like to read every word and some like to just confirm the basics noted above. Please feel free to review as much of the document as you would like. Lisa Mathews, Esq. is happy to address any questions you have.

If anything needs to be changed in the drafts, you may respond back via email, via the portal, or by emailing

If you would like help creating your Estate Plan, please reach out to Mathews Law, PLLC, by scheduling a free consultation here or calling us anytime at 866.980.0838.

If you are an existing client and have a specific question, please let us know at


Some of your assets will not be transferred to beneficiaries based on the instructions in your will. This includes things like: 

  • Retirement accounts (401K, 403b, 457, pension, IRA)
  • Life insurance
  • Annuities
  • Transfer on death (TOD) or payable on death (POD) accounts. 

For these assets, you need to provide instructions directly to the financial institution.

Contact the financial institution that manages each account to request the correct form or method to update your beneficiaries. For example, some may require that you fill out a specific form while others may permit this change to be made online.

If you have a trust, you can name the trust as the beneficiary on the accounts listed above. There are pros and cons to doing this that we will be happy to discuss with you while creating your customized plan!

If you would like help creating an Estate Plan, please reach out to Mathews Law, PLLC by setting up your free consultation here or calling 866.980.0838.

If you are an existing client and have a specific question, please email us at