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Asked in West Virginia, United States |

Feb 3, 2024
Wills and estates
Charleston, West Virginia estate law

Hope you're doing alright. So, here's the deal. I'm reaching out from the heart of Charleston, West Virginia, right? A place known for its rich history, the gold dome of the Capitol gleaming under the sun, and the tranquil waters of the Kanawha River. Just setting the scene so you know where I'm coming from.

I've got this situation that's a bit of a head-scratcher and figured you'd be the perfect person to shed some light on it. My grandpa, bless his soul, was quite the character, lived up in the hills near Coonskin Park where he had this sprawling piece of land. He passed away recently, and as things are settling, we're uncovering the layers of what he left behind.

Now, grandpa was a man of few words but lots of action. He didn't leave a will – at least, not one that we can find. But he did always tell us, over dinners at his favorite spot, The Bluegrass Kitchen on Charleston’s East End, how he wanted his estate handled. He had this unique connection to the land, always talking about preserving it for future generations of our family, making sure it wasn't just sold off to the highest bidder for development.

Here's where it gets tricky. Without a formal will, I know things get a bit murky under West Virginia estate law. Our family's pretty tight-knit, but there's always a few outliers who might see things differently, especially when land and money get involved. I've heard horror stories about lengthy probate processes, family disputes tearing folks apart, and I want to avoid that at all costs.

So, what do you think? Is there a way to honor grandpa’s wishes, keep the peace in the family, and ensure this land stays in the family like he wanted? What steps should we be taking right now to navigate this situation? I've heard about things like affidavits of heirship or maybe even setting up a trust, but I'm not sure how all that works or if it's even the right move in West Virginia.

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