Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 57. Religious and Charitable Matters; Cemeteries
Chapter 2. Church Property; Benevolent Associations and Objects
5/29/2024

Article 3. Benevolent Associations and Objects.

§ 57-18. Conveyance for charitable purpose to unincorporated bodies, societies, groups, associations, or posts.

In any case where, since June 18, 1914, there has been, or at any time hereafter there may be, (i) any gift, grant, or devise of real estate or personal property for charitable purposes to an unincorporated body, society, group, association, or post, including those referenced in § 57-19, whether such gift, grant, or devise be directly to such body, society, group, association, or post or to it in trust for charitable uses, or (ii) a need for appointment or confirmation of election of trustees for such unincorporated body, society, group, association, or post to effect and promote the purpose and object of such unincorporated body, society, group, association, or post, trustees may, if such unincorporated body, society, group, association, or post so elects, be appointed in accordance with the procedure prescribed by § 57-8, and such trustees shall hold the trust subject in accordance with the provisions of §§ 57-11, 57-13, 57-14, 57-15, 57-15.1, 57-16, and 57-17 in like manner as if such sections had been made expressly applicable to such unincorporated body, society, group, association, or post. For the purposes of this section, the words church, society, denomination, congregation, religious congregation, religious body, religious denomination, and religious congregation or organization, appearing in the aforesaid sections, shall be interpreted to refer to such unincorporated body, society, group, association, or post.

1928, p. 25; Michie Code 1942, § 49a; 2023, c. 541.

§ 57-19. Conveyances of land to benevolent and other associations to be subject to certain sections.

When any conveyance of land has been or shall be made to trustees for the use of any society of Freemasons, Odd Fellows, Sons of Temperance, posts of Veterans of Foreign Wars or of the American Legion, Spanish War Veterans, Disabled American Veterans and of other associations of veterans of the armed forces of the United States, or any other benevolent or literary associations, or school league, or other groups organized for rural community civic purposes or improvement of farm life or operations of like purposes and not for profit, or if without the intervention of trustees such conveyance has been made since March 31, 1848, or shall be hereafter made for such use, §§ 57-8, 57-11, 57-14 and 57-15 shall be construed as if they were expressly made applicable to such association, post or society. Whenever such association, post or society has been in undisputed possession, for a period of twenty-five years or more, of any real estate, and for which there is no deed of record, § 57-17 shall be construed as if it was expressly made applicable to such association, post or society.

Code 1919, § 47; 1946, p. 230; 1954, c. 129; 1956, c. 203.

§ 57-20. Quantity of land benevolent and other associations may hold.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, the trustee for the use of any benevolent or other association referred to in § 57-19 shall not hereafter take or hold, at one time, any land exceeding five acres; and the trustees of two or more bodies or societies may hold jointly, land not exceeding five acres; provided that the local governing body of any county or city may by ordinance authorize such trustee or trustees to take and hold in such county or city not exceeding 10 acres of land at any one time. However, a school league may, in addition to the five acres held by such trustees, hold not exceeding 10 acres as a home for the principal of the school for which the league is named. All such holdings heretofore acquired are validated; except holdings that are in litigation prior to or on July 1, 1964.

Any lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks or other groups organized for rural community civic purposes or improvement of farm life or operations of like purposes and not for profit may hold not exceeding 35 acres of land. All such holdings heretofore acquired are validated; except holdings that are in litigation on or before July 1, 2002.

Any association or post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Spanish War Veterans, Disabled American Veterans, or any similar association of veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States chartered by an act of Congress may hold not exceeding 200 acres of land. Notwithstanding any other provision of law conveyances of land made prior to June 29, 1948, to any such post or association of veterans is validated provided the same is not in excess of 75 acres. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 58.1-3607, for real property owned by an association or post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Spanish War Veterans, Disabled American Veterans, or any similar association of veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States chartered by an act of Congress, that portion of real property owned by such association or post in excess of 75 acres shall be subject to the provisions of § 58.1-3651 and shall not be exempt from taxation unless an ordinance to that effect is adopted by the local governing body.

Code 1919, § 48; 1948, p. 634; 1956, c. 454; 1964, c. 553; 1986, c. 63; 2002, c. 638; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 234.

§ 57-21. May hold personal property through trustees.

Any such unincorporated body, society, group, association, or post referenced in § 57-18 or 57-19 may acquire personal property for its use, and hold the same and any such as it may have heretofore acquired, through the intervention of trustees in whom the legal title shall be vested for its benefit; and the circuit court of the locality in which the meetings of such unincorporated body, society, group, association, or post are usually held, or the judge of such court in vacation, may, on the application of the proper authorities of the unincorporated body, society, group, association, or post, from time to time, appoint trustees, either where there were or are none, or in place of former trustees, and change those so appointed, as may seem to the court or judge to be proper; and the legal title to such personal property shall be vested in the trustees, for the time being, and their successors, for the use and benefit of the unincorporated body, society, group, association, or post.

Code 1919, § 49; 2005, c. 772; 2023, c. 541.