Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 64.2. Wills, Trusts, and Fiduciaries
Chapter 20. Guardianship and Conservatorship

§ 64.2-2023. Estate planning.

A. In the order appointing a conservator entered pursuant to § 64.2-2009 or in a separate proceeding brought on petition, the court may for good cause shown authorize a conservator to (i) make gifts from income and principal of the incapacitated person's estate not necessary for the incapacitated person's maintenance to those persons to whom the incapacitated person would, in the judgment of the court, have made gifts if he had been of sound mind, (ii) disclaim property as provided in Chapter 26 (§ 64.2-2600 et seq.), or (iii) create a revocable or irrevocable trust on behalf of an incapacitated person with terms approved by the court or transfer assets of an incapacitated person or an incapacitated person's estate to a trust.

B. In a proceeding under this section, a guardian ad litem shall be appointed to represent the interest of the incapacitated person. Notice of a proceeding under this section shall be given pursuant to Chapter 8 (§ 8.01-285 et seq.) of Title 8.01 and the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia to: (i) the incapacitated person and the incapacitated person's spouse and children, (ii) all beneficiaries named in any known will of the incapacitated person, (iii) the incapacitated person's intestate heirs determined as if the incapacitated person had died intestate on the date of the filing of the petition, and (iv) all other interested persons. The court may authorize the hearing to proceed without notice to any person who would not be substantially affected by the proceedings. For the purposes of this section, the beneficiaries and intestate heirs shall be deemed possessed of inchoate property rights. Unless otherwise represented, a minor, incapacitated, or unborn individual, or a person whose identity or location is unknown and not reasonably ascertainable, may with the approval of the court be represented and bound by another having a substantially identical interest with respect to the will proceeding under this section, but only to the extent that there is no conflict of interest between the representative and the person represented.

C. The court shall determine the amounts, recipients, and proportions of any gifts of the estate, the advisability of any disclaimer, whether good cause exists to create a trust or transfer assets, and whether to approve the trust terms after considering (i) the size and composition of the estate; (ii) the nature and probable duration of the incapacity; (iii) the effect of the gifts, disclaimers, trusts, or transfers on the estate's financial ability to meet the incapacitated person's foreseeable health, medical care, and maintenance needs; (iv) the incapacitated person's estate plan and the effect of the gifts, disclaimers, trusts, or transfers on the estate plan; (v) prior patterns of assistance or gifts to the proposed donees; (vi) the tax effect of the proposed gifts, disclaimers, trusts, or transfers; (vii) the effect of any transfer of assets or disclaimer on the establishment or retention of eligibility for medical assistance services; (viii) whether to require, during the lifetime of the incapacitated person, that the trustee of any trust created or funded pursuant to this section post bond, with or without surety, or provide an accounting as set forth in § 64.2-1305; and (ix) other factors that the court may deem relevant.

D. A commissioner of accounts for the jurisdiction where a conservator qualifies may authorize the same gifts under the same circumstances as the circuit court may authorize under subsection C, except that (i) the total gifts authorized in a calendar year shall not exceed $25,000 and (ii) the commissioner shall report to the court his determination based upon consideration of clauses (i) through (ix) set forth in subsection C. The provisions of subsection B shall not apply to proceedings before the commissioner, but the commissioner shall give reasonable written notice of the scheduled hearing date to any person who would be substantially affected by the proceedings. The commissioner may provide notice to a minor by mail to the duly qualified guardian of the minor or, if none exists, a custodial parent of the minor who is also not the conservator.

E. If the gifts by the conservator under clause (i) of subsection A do not exceed $150 to each donee in a calendar year and do not exceed a total of $750 in a calendar year, the conservator may make such gifts without a hearing under this section, the appointment of a guardian ad litem, or giving notice to any person. Prior to the making of such a gift, the conservator shall consider clauses (i) through (ix) set forth in subsection C and shall also find that the incapacitated person has shown a history of giving the same or a similar gift to a specific donee for the previous three years prior to the appointment of the conservator.

F. The conservator may transfer assets of an incapacitated person or an incapacitated person's estate into an irrevocable trust where the transfer has been designated solely for burial of the incapacitated person or spouse of the incapacitated person in accordance with conditions set forth in subdivision A 2 of § 32.1-325. The conservator also may contractually bind an incapacitated person or an incapacitated person's estate by executing a preneed funeral contract, described in Chapter 28 (§ 54.1-2800 et seq.) of Title 54.1, for the benefit of the incapacitated person.

G. A conservator may exercise the incapacitated person's power to revoke or amend a trust or to withdraw or demand distribution of trust assets only with the approval of the court for good cause shown, unless the trust instrument expressly provides otherwise.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-137.5; 2003, cc. 253, 528; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1024; 2012, c. 614; 2013, c. 523; 2014, c. 532.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.