County Clerk's Office
77 Fairfax Street, Room 102
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
Phone: (304)258-8547
Fax: (304)258-8545

When a person dies an estate is created. An estate includes but is not limited to real estate, personal property, vehicles, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, cash on hand, refunds, etc. Present law requires that someone “administer” or settle the estate of a decedent. Administration is the process called “probate” which seeks to protect the right of the decedents creditors to claim against the estate and insures that by following the procedures required by law, good and clear title to any remaining assets will be passed to the designated beneficiaries by Will or, if there is no Will, to the decedents heirs at law.

Every person who is legally competent has the right by making a Will to designate who shall take their property upon death, in what amount and under such conditions or restrictions he or she may want to set forth.

If a person does not make a Will they are said to have died “intestate”. The estate then passes to the decedents surviving spouse and/or heirs at law in such proportions as designated by the West Virginia Code. (Statutes in effect on the date of death apply.)