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Karen L. Rowell

Karen L. Rowell

Estate Planning, Estate Administration & Elder Law Attorney, Clark & Bra
  • Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate
  • Virginia
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Karen L. Rowell is an associate attorney with Clark & Bradshaw, P.C. Ms. Rowell grew up in Roanoke County, Virginia, graduating from Cave Spring High School. She received her baccalaureate degree in Family & Child Development from Virginia Tech and her juris doctor from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary. Ms. Rowell served as a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive in the United States Navy for five years prior to attending law school and has been practicing law in Harrisonburg since 2008. Ms. Rowell focuses her practice on wills & estate planning, advanced medical directives & powers of attorney, Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security Benefits, financial & long-term care planning, revocable living trusts, life insurance trusts, special needs & charitable trusts, guardianships & conservatorships, and probate, trust & estate administration. Ms. Rowell is a qualified guardian ad litem for incapacitated adults. Ms. Rowell and her daughter, Lura Alexandra Gurth, have enjoyed living in Bridgewater since 2008 and look forward to many more years living and serving the community in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Clark & Bradshaw, P.C. is a full service law firm which has represented individuals and businesses in the Shenandoah Valley since 1948.

Practice Areas
  • Elder Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Layman & Nichols, P.C.
I spent the first ten years of my practice with this firm practicing estate planning, estate administration and elder law.
Cryptologic Technician Interpretive Petty Officer Second Class
United States Navy
I am a proud Navy veteran.
College of William and Mary
J.D. (2008) | Juris Doctor
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
B.S. (1996) | Family & Child Development
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Logo
NATO Medal
Awarded during Navy service.
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Department of Defense
Awarded during Navy service.
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Former Republic of Yugoslavia
Department of Defense
Awarded during Navy service.
Good Conduct Medal
United States Navy
Professional Associations
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Virginia Chapter
- Current
Activities: I have attended many state and national conferences. This is a wonderful organization to be a part of as an estate and elder law attorney.
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Virginia State Bar # 76801
- Current
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Speaking Engagements
Senior Advantage Program, Sentara RMH Hospital, Harrisonburg, VA
Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives, Guardianships and Conservatorships
Guardian ad litem for Incapacitated Adults
Supreme Court of Virginia
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
4 Questions Answered

Q. VIRGINIA. Son dies intestate. No administrator declared. Mom heir of succession. She dies in July with Will. Now what
A: Your fiance's estate would be administered as usual, except instead of his mother being his intestate heir it is now her estate since she survived him. His debts are his debts, they don't transfer to her estate. Once the debts of his estate have been paid and final distribution is made then the assets go into her estate which would be probated pursuant to her Will.
Q. Can an executor of a will sell a house under his control for $1.00?
A: To sell the house for less than it's value would be a breach of fiduciary duty. However, if the other beneficiaries disclaimed their shares it would pass to whoever would take if they had predeceased, which could result in a larger share, or perhaps even the entire interest, passing to the daughter. You would need to have an attorney review the Will to determine who takes if they had predeceased, such as, does it pass to whoever survives out of the three named or does it pass to their heirs, such as other siblings of the decedent, or children of the brother. That would only work if the mother and brother are cooperative and if there is no one else in line to inherit.
Q. I live in a. and my brother died without a will. I need to become personal representative to open an estate checking acc
A: You will need to contact the Court Clerk in the jurisdiction in Hawaii where he died and go there to qualify on his estate. You will need a certified copy of his death certificate. You should be able to reimburse yourself out of the estate assets for expenses incurred in the administration of the estate, within reason, with the approval of the Commissioner of Accounts (or whatever they call that in Hawaii, it may be very different). You should also contact an attorney local to the area in Hawaii where he died who handles estate administration to guide you on Hawaii probate law.
Q. Can the court clerk decide to not appoint the executors as listed in the will and put all heirs on property deed?
A: The Clerk cannot refuse to qualify the Executors named in a Will admitted to probate if they meet the requirements for surety, but that does not answer your question regarding real property. The Executor doesn't automatically have authority over the real property. The Will acts as a deed to transfer the property as indicated in the Will and unless the Executor is directed to sell, or has the authority to sell and must do so in order to pay debts of the estate, the Executor has no authority over the real property. If there is some legitimate reason that the Executor NEEDS authority over the real property such as the payment of debts, they can petition the court to gain such authority but if it is merely for the convenience of joint owners then your method of addressing that would be a partition suit by the joint owners who desire a sale for equal distribution of proceeds. Your concern regarding "equal distribution" confuses me though because if it is passing as part of the residue then it does pass by equal ownership. If there is a specific bequest and it is not meant to be equal and you are settling a Will contest then that is another matter entirely and would be settled by litigation.
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Contact & Map
Clark & Bradshaw, P.C.
92 N. liberty Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
Telephone: (540) 433-2601 Ext. 217