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Code of Virginia
Title 13.1. Corporations
Chapter 14. Virginia Business Trust Act
2/23/2024

Article 2. Formation.

§ 13.1-1209. Purposes.

Every business trust formed under this chapter has the purpose of engaging in any lawful business, except as otherwise may be provided by the law of this Commonwealth, unless a more limited purpose is set forth in the articles of trust.

2002, c. 621.

§ 13.1-1210. Powers.

Unless the articles of trust provide otherwise, every business trust has the same powers as an individual or any other entity to do all things necessary or convenient to carry out its business and affairs, including, without limitation, the power:

1. To sue and be sued, complain and defend in its name;

2. To purchase, receive, lease or otherwise acquire, and own, hold, improve, use and otherwise deal with, real or personal property, or any legal or equitable interest in property, wherever located;

3. To sell, convey, mortgage, pledge, lease, exchange, and otherwise dispose of all or any part of its property;

4. To purchase, receive, subscribe for, or otherwise acquire, own, hold, vote, use, sell, mortgage, lend, pledge, or otherwise dispose of, and deal in and with shares or other interests in, or obligations of, any other person;

5. To make contracts and guaranties, incur liabilities, borrow money, issue its notes, bonds, and other obligations, and secure any of its obligations by mortgage or pledge of any of its property, franchises or income;

6. To lend money, invest and reinvest its funds, and receive and hold real and personal property as security for repayment;

7. To conduct its business, locate offices, and exercise the powers granted by this chapter within or without this Commonwealth;

8. To elect and appoint trustees, officers, employees and agents of the business trust, define their duties, fix their compensation, and lend them money and credit;

9. To pay pensions and establish pension plans, pension trusts, profit-sharing plans, and benefit and incentive plans for all or any of the current or former beneficial owners, trustees, officers, employees, and agents of the business trust or any of its subsidiaries;

10. To make donations to the public welfare or for religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes;

11. To make payments or donations or do any other act, not inconsistent with this section or any other applicable law, that furthers the business and affairs of the business trust;

12. To pay compensation, or to pay additional compensation, to any or all beneficial owners, trustees, officers and employees on account of services previously rendered to the business trust, whether or not an agreement to pay such compensation was made before such services were rendered;

13. To insure for its benefit the life of any of its beneficial owners, trustees, officers or employees, to insure the life of any beneficial owner for the purpose of acquiring at his death the interest owned by such beneficial owner and to continue such insurance after the relationship terminates;

14. To cease its activities, wind up its affairs, and proceed to cancel its existence;

15. To enter into partnership agreements, joint ventures, or other associations of any kind with any person or persons;

16. To indemnify a trustee, officer, employee or any other person to the same extent as a corporation may indemnify any of the directors, officers, employees or agents of the corporation;

17. To transact any lawful business that a corporation, partnership, limited liability company or other business entity may conduct under the laws of the Commonwealth subject, however, to any and all laws and restrictions that govern or limit the conduct of such activity by such corporation, partnership, limited liability company or other business entity; and

18. To have and exercise all powers necessary or convenient to effect any or all of the purposes for which the business trust is organized.

2002, c. 621; 2008, c. 101.

§ 13.1-1211. Formation.

One or more persons may form a business trust by signing and filing articles of trust with the Commission. Such person or persons need not be beneficial owners of the business trust after formation has occurred.

2002, c. 621.

§ 13.1-1212. Articles of trust.

A. The articles of trust shall set forth:

1. A name for the business trust that satisfies the requirements of § 13.1-1214;

2. The post office address, including the street and number, if any, of the business trust's initial registered office, the name of the city or county in which it is located, the name of its initial registered agent at that office, and that the agent is either (i) an individual who is a resident of this Commonwealth and is a trustee or officer of the business trust, an officer or director of a corporation that is a trustee of the business trust, a general partner of a general or limited partnership that is a trustee of the business trust, a member or manager of a limited liability company that is a trustee of the business trust, a trustee of a business trust or other trust that is a trustee of the business trust, or a member of the Virginia State Bar or (ii) a domestic or foreign stock or nonstock corporation, limited liability company, registered limited liability partnership, or business trust authorized to transact business in this Commonwealth; and

3. The post office address, including the street and number, if any, of the principal office of the business trust, which may be the same as the registered office, but need not be within this Commonwealth.

B. The articles of trust may set forth any other matter that under this chapter is permitted to be set forth in a governing instrument of a business trust.

C. The articles of trust need not set forth any of the powers enumerated in this chapter.

D. If the Commission finds that the articles of trust comply with the requirements of law and that all required fees have been paid, it shall issue a certificate of trust.

2002, c. 621; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 487.

§ 13.1-1213. Articles of correction.

A. A business trust may correct its articles of trust at any time to correct a name or address specified in the articles of trust.

B. For a correction to the articles of trust to be adopted, the correction shall be adopted by the sole trustee or a majority of the trustees, or in accordance with the articles of trust or the governing instrument of the business trust.

C. To correct its articles of trust, a business trust shall file with the Commission articles of correction setting forth:

1. The name of the business trust;

2. The text of each correction;

3. A statement of the nature of the error necessitating each correction; and

4. A statement of the manner in which the correction was adopted.

D. If the Commission finds that the articles of correction comply with the requirements of law and that all required fees have been paid, it shall issue a certificate of correction.

2002, c. 621; 2003, c. 373.

§ 13.1-1214. Name.

A. A business trust name may contain:

1. One or more of the following words: "association," "club," "company," "foundation," "fund," "institute," "society," "syndicate," or "union," or abbreviations of like import; and

2. The word "trust," provided that the context or remaining words in the name meet the standards prescribed in §§ 6.2-939 and 6.2-1040.

B. A business trust name shall not contain:

1. Any word, abbreviation, or combination of characters that states or implies the business trust is a corporation, a limited liability company, a limited partnership, a registered limited liability partnership, or a protected series of a series limited liability company; or

2. Any word or phrase the use of which is prohibited by law for such business trust.

C. Except as authorized by subsection D, a business trust name shall be distinguishable upon the records of the Commission from:

1. The name of a domestic business trust or a foreign business trust registered to transact business in the Commonwealth;

2. A business trust name reserved under § 13.1-1215;

3. The designated name adopted by a foreign business trust because its real name is unavailable for use in the Commonwealth;

4. The name of any corporation, whether issuing shares or not issuing shares, existing under the laws of the Commonwealth or authorized to transact business in the Commonwealth;

5. A corporate name reserved or registered under § 13.1-631, 13.1-632, 13.1-830, or 13.1-831;

6. The designated name adopted by a foreign corporation, whether issuing shares or not issuing shares, because its real name is unavailable for use in the Commonwealth;

7. The name of a domestic limited liability company or a foreign limited liability company registered to transact business in the Commonwealth;

8. A limited liability company name reserved under § 13.1-1013;

9. The designated name adopted by a foreign limited liability company because its real name is unavailable for use in the Commonwealth;

10. The name of a domestic limited partnership or a foreign limited partnership registered to transact business in the Commonwealth;

11. A limited partnership name reserved under § 50-73.3; and

12. The designated name adopted by a foreign limited partnership because its real name is unavailable for use in the Commonwealth.

D. A domestic business trust may apply to the Commission for authorization to use a name that is not distinguishable upon its records from one or more of the names described in subsection C. The Commission shall authorize use of the name applied for if the other domestic or foreign business trust or other business entity consents to the use in writing and submits an undertaking in a form satisfactory to the Commission to change its name to a name that is distinguishable upon the records of the Commission from the name of the applying business trust.

E. The use of assumed names or fictitious names, as provided for in Chapter 5 (§ 59.1-69 et seq.) of Title 59.1, is not affected by this chapter.

F. The Commission, in determining whether a business trust name is distinguishable upon its records from the name of any of the business entities listed in subsection C, shall not consider any word, phrase, abbreviation, or designation required or permitted under § 13.1-544.1, subsection A of § 13.1-630, subsection A of § 13.1-1012, § 13.1-1104, subsection A of § 50-73.2, and subdivision A 2 of § 50-73.78 to be contained in the name of a business entity formed or organized under the laws of the Commonwealth or authorized or registered to transact business in the Commonwealth.

2002, c. 621; 2003, cc. 373, 592; 2005, c. 379; 2012, c. 63; 2013, c. 25; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 487.

§ 13.1-1215. Reserved name.

A. A person may apply to the Commission to reserve the exclusive use of a business trust name, including a designated name for a foreign business trust. If the Commission finds that the business trust name applied for is distinguishable upon the records of the Commission, it shall reserve the name for the applicant's exclusive use for a 120-day period.

B. The owner of a reserved business trust name may renew the reservation for successive periods of 120 days each by filing with the Commission, during the 45-day period preceding the date of expiration of the reservation, a renewal application.

C. The owner of a reserved business trust name may transfer the reservation to another person by delivering to the Commission a notice of the transfer, signed by the applicant for whom the name was reserved, and specifying the name and address of the transferee.

D. A reserved business trust name may be used by its owner in connection with (i) the formation or an amendment to change the name of a domestic stock or nonstock corporation, limited liability company, business trust, or limited partnership; (ii) an application for a certificate of authority or registration to transact business in the Commonwealth as a foreign stock or nonstock corporation, limited liability company, business trust, or limited partnership; or (iii) an amended application for such authority or registration, provided that the proposed name complies with the provisions of § 13.1-630, 13.1-762, 13.1-829, 13.1-924, 13.1-1012, 13.1-1054, 13.1-1214, 13.1-1244, 50-73.2, or 50-73.56, as the case may be.

2002, c. 621; 2006, c. 505; 2015, c. 444.

§ 13.1-1216. Amendment of articles of trust.

A. Except to the extent otherwise provided in this chapter, the articles of trust, or the governing instrument of the business trust, the sole trustee or a majority of the trustees may amend the articles of trust of a business trust at any time to add or change a provision that is required or permitted in the articles, or to delete a provision not required in the articles. An amendment to the articles of trust may delete the name and address of the initial registered agent or registered office, if a statement of change described in § 13.1-1221 is on file with the Commission.

B. A business trust amending its articles of trust shall file with the Commission articles of amendment setting forth:

1. The name of the business trust;

2. The text of each amendment adopted;

3. The date of each amendment's adoption; and

4. A statement that the amendment was adopted in accordance with the articles of trust and the governing instrument of the business trust.

C. If the Commission finds that the articles of amendment comply with the requirements of law and that all required fees have been paid, it shall issue a certificate of amendment.

D. An amendment to the articles of the trust does not affect a cause of action existing against or in favor of the business trust, a proceeding to which the business trust is a party, or the existing rights of persons other than beneficial owners of the business trust. An amendment changing a business trust's name does not abate a proceeding brought by or against the business trust in its former name.

2002, c. 621; 2008, c. 101.

§ 13.1-1217. Restatement of articles of trust.

A. Except to the extent otherwise provided in this chapter, in the articles of trust or in the governing instrument of the business trust, the sole trustee or a majority of the trustees may restate the articles of trust of a business trust at any time.

B. The restatement may include one or more amendments to the articles, including an amendment to delete the name and address of the initial registered agent or registered office, if a statement of change described in § 13.1-1221 is on file with the Commission.

C. A business trust restating its articles of trust shall file with the Commission articles of restatement setting forth:

1. The name of the business trust immediately prior to restatement;

2. Whether the restatement contains an amendment to the articles of trust;

3. The text of the restated articles of trust or amended and restated articles of trust;

4. The date of adoption of the articles of restatement; and

5. A statement that the restatement was adopted in accordance with the articles of trust and the governing instrument of the business trust.

D. If the Commission finds that the articles of restatement comply with the requirements of law and that all required fees have been paid, it shall issue a certificate of restatement. When the certificate of restatement is effective, the restated articles of trust or amended and restated articles of trust supersede the original articles of trust and all amendments to the original articles of trust.

E. The Commission may certify restated articles of trust or amended and restated articles of trust as the articles of trust currently in effect.

2002, c. 621; 2003, c. 373; 2008, c. 101.

§ 13.1-1218. Existence.

A. Except to the extent otherwise provided in this chapter, in the articles of trust or in the governing instrument of the business trust, a business trust:

1. Shall have perpetual existence; and

2. May not be terminated or revoked by a beneficial owner or other person except in accordance with the terms of the articles of trust or the governing instrument of the business trust.

B. Except to the extent otherwise provided in the articles of trust or in the governing instrument of a business trust, the death, incapacity, dissolution, termination, or bankruptcy of a beneficial owner shall not result in the termination or dissolution of a business trust.

C. In the event that a business trust does not have perpetual existence, a business trust is dissolved and its affairs shall be wound up in accordance with Article 8 (§ 13.1-1234 et seq.) of this chapter at the time or on the happening of events specified in the articles of trust or the governing instrument.

2002, c. 621.

§ 13.1-1219. Governing instrument.

A. A governing instrument of a business trust may:

1. Provide that a person shall become a beneficial owner and shall become bound by the governing instrument if such person, or a representative authorized by such person, orally, in writing, or by other action such as payment for a beneficial interest, complies with the conditions for becoming a beneficial owner set forth in the governing instrument or any other writing and acquires a beneficial interest;

2. Consist of one or more agreements, instruments, or other writings and may include or incorporate a declaration of trust or bylaws containing provisions relating to the business of the business trust, the conduct of its affairs, and its rights or powers or the rights or powers of its trustees, beneficial owners, agents, or employees; and

3. Contain any provision that is not inconsistent with law or with the information contained in the articles of trust.

B. A governing instrument may contain any provision relating to the management of the business and affairs of the business trust, and the rights, duties, and obligations of the trustees, beneficial owners, and other persons, that is not contrary to any provision or requirement of this chapter or the articles of trust and without limitation:

1. May provide for classes, groups, or series of trustees or beneficial owners, or classes, groups, or series of beneficial interests, having such relative rights, powers, and duties as the governing instrument may provide; and may make provision for the future creation in the manner provided in the governing instrument of additional classes, groups or series of trustees, beneficial owners, or beneficial interests, having the relative rights, powers, and duties as may from time to time be established, including rights, powers, and duties senior or subordinate to existing classes, groups, or series of trustees, beneficial owners, or beneficial interests;

2. May establish or provide for the establishment of designated series of trustees, beneficial owners, or beneficial interests having separate rights, powers, or duties with respect to specified property or obligations of the business trust or profits and losses associated with specified property or obligations and, to the extent provided in the governing instrument, any series may have a separate business purpose or investment objective;

3. May provide for the taking of any action, including the amendment of the articles of trust or governing instrument, the accomplishment of a merger or consolidation, the appointment of one or more trustees, the sale, lease, exchange, transfer, pledge, or other disposition of all or any part of the assets of the business trust or the assets of any series, or the dissolution of the business trust; or may provide for the taking of any action to create, under the provisions of the governing instrument, a class, group, or series of beneficial interests that was not previously outstanding, in any such case without the vote or approval of any particular trustee or beneficial owner, or class, group, or series of trustees or beneficial owners;

4. May grant to or withhold from all or certain trustees or beneficial owners, or a specified class, group, or series of trustees or beneficial owners, the right to vote, separately or with any or all other classes, groups, or series of trustees or beneficial owners, on any matter, such voting being on a per capita, number, financial interest, class, group, series, or any other basis;

5. May, if and to the extent that voting rights are granted under the governing instrument, set forth provisions relating to notice of the time, place, or purpose of any meeting at which any matter is to be voted on, method of giving such notice, waiver of any such notice, action by consent without a meeting, the establishment of record dates, quorum requirements, voting in person, by proxy or in any other manner, or any other matter with respect to the exercise of the right to vote;

6. May provide for the present or future creation of more than one business trust, including the creation of a future business trust to which all or any part of the assets, liabilities, profits, or losses of any existing business trust will be transferred, and for the conversion of beneficial interests in an existing business trust or series, into beneficial interests in the separate business trust or series;

7. May provide for the appointment, election, or engagement, either as agents or independent contractors of the business trust or as delegates of the trustees, of officers, employees, managers, or other persons who may manage the business and affairs of the business trust and may have the titles and the relative rights, powers, and duties as the governing instrument shall provide; and

8. May provide for restrictions on transfer of beneficial interests to maintain the business trust's status when it is dependent on the number or identity of its beneficial owners, to preserve exemptions under federal or state securities laws or for any other purpose.

2002, c. 621.