Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 64.2. Wills, Trusts, and Fiduciaries
8/24/2019

Article 1. Elective Share of Surviving Spouse.

§ 64.2-300. Applicability; definitions.

A. The provisions of this article shall apply to determining the elective share of a surviving spouse for decedents dying before January 1, 2017.

B. As used in this article, the terms "estate" and "property" shall include insurance policies, retirement benefits exclusive of federal social security benefits, annuities, pension plans, deferred compensation arrangements, and employee benefit plans to the extent owned by, vested in, or subject to the control of the decedent on the date of his death or the date of an irrevocable transfer by him during his lifetime. All such insurance policies and other benefits are included in the terms "estate" and "property" notwithstanding the presence of language contained in any statute otherwise providing that neither they nor their proceeds shall be liable to attachment, garnishment, levy, execution, or other legal process or be seized, taken, appropriated, or applied by any legal or equitable process or operation of law or any other such similar language.

1990, c. 831, §§ 64.1-16.1, 64.1-16.2; 1992, cc. 617, 647; 1998, c. 234; 1999, c. 38; 2007, c. 308; 2012, c. 614; 2016, cc. 187, 269.

§ 64.2-301. Dower or curtesy abolished.

The interests of dower and curtesy are abolished. However, the abolition of dower and curtesy pursuant to this section shall not change or diminish the nature or right of (i) any dower or curtesy interest of a surviving spouse whose dower or curtesy vested prior to January 1, 1991, or (ii) a creditor or other interested third party in any real estate subject to a right of dower or curtesy.

The rights of all such parties, and the procedures for enforcing such rights, shall continue to be governed by the laws in force prior to January 1, 1991.

1990, c. 831, § 64.1-19.2; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-302. (Effective October 1, 2019) When and how elective share may be claimed by surviving spouse.

A. A surviving spouse may claim an elective share regardless of whether (i) any provision for the surviving spouse is made in the decedent's will or (ii) the decedent dies intestate.

B. The surviving spouse of a decedent who dies domiciled in the Commonwealth may claim an elective share in the decedent's augmented estate within six months from the later of (i) the time of the admission of the decedent's will to probate or (ii) the qualification of an administrator on the decedent's intestate estate. The claim to an elective share shall be made either in person before the court having jurisdiction over administration of the decedent's estate, or by a writing recorded in the court or the clerk's office thereof, upon such acknowledgment or proof as would authorize a writing to be admitted to record under Chapter 6 (§ 55.1-600 et seq.) of Title 55.1.

C. The right, if any, of the surviving spouse of a decedent who dies domiciled outside of the Commonwealth to take an elective share based upon the value of property in the Commonwealth is governed by the law of the decedent's domicile at death.

Code 1950, § 64-13; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-13; 1990, c. 831; 1995, c. 211; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-302. (Effective until October 1, 2019) When and how elective share may be claimed by surviving spouse.

A. A surviving spouse may claim an elective share regardless of whether (i) any provision for the surviving spouse is made in the decedent's will or (ii) the decedent dies intestate.

B. The surviving spouse of a decedent who dies domiciled in the Commonwealth may claim an elective share in the decedent's augmented estate within six months from the later of (i) the time of the admission of the decedent's will to probate or (ii) the qualification of an administrator on the decedent's intestate estate. The claim to an elective share shall be made either in person before the court having jurisdiction over administration of the decedent's estate, or by a writing recorded in the court or the clerk's office thereof, upon such acknowledgment or proof as would authorize a writing to be admitted to record under Chapter 6 (§ 55-106 et seq.) of Title 55.

C. The right, if any, of the surviving spouse of a decedent who dies domiciled outside of the Commonwealth to take an elective share based upon the value of property in the Commonwealth is governed by the law of the decedent's domicile at death.

Code 1950, § 64-13; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-13; 1990, c. 831; 1995, c. 211; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-303. Extension of time until after determination of action for construction of will or extent of augmented estate.

If (i) a will is of doubtful import as to the amount or value of the property the surviving spouse of the decedent is to receive thereunder or (ii) the composition or value of the augmented estate is uncertain, and an action to resolve such issues is pending, the court in which the action is pending shall, upon the application of the surviving spouse made within the six-month period set forth in § 64.2-302, enter an order extending the time within which the surviving spouse may make a claim for an elective share. Such additional period within which to make a claim for an elective share shall not exceed 90 days after a final order has been entered in such suit, either by a trial court or any appellate court to which it is appealed.

Code 1950, § 64-14; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-14; 1990, c. 831; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-304. Rights upon claiming an elective share.

If a claim for an elective share is made, the surviving spouse is entitled to (i) one-third of the decedent's augmented estate if the decedent left surviving children or their descendants or (ii) one-half of the decedent's augmented estate if the decedent left no surviving children or their descendants. The surviving spouse is entitled to interest at the legal rate specified in § 6.2-301 from the date of the decedent's death to the date of satisfaction of the elective share.

Code 1950, § 64-16; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-16; 1978, c. 647; 1986, c. 526; 1990, c. 831; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-305. (Effective October 1, 2019) Augmented estate; exclusions; valuation.

A. The augmented estate means the decedent's entire estate passing by will or intestate succession, real and personal, after payment of allowances and exemptions under Article 2 (§ 64.2-309 et seq.) of this chapter, funeral expenses, charges of administration that shall not include federal or state transfer taxes, and debts, and to which is added the following amounts:

1. The value of property, other than tangible personal property received by gift and the proceeds thereof, owned or acquired by the surviving spouse at the decedent's death, to the extent the property is derived from the decedent by any means other than by will or intestate succession without full consideration in money or money's worth;

2. The value of property, other than tangible personal property received by gift and the proceeds thereof, derived by the surviving spouse from the decedent without full consideration in money or money's worth by any means other than by will or intestate succession, and transferred by the surviving spouse at any time during the marriage to a person other than the decedent, which would have been includable in the surviving spouse's augmented estate if the surviving spouse had predeceased the decedent; and

3. The value of property transferred to anyone other than a bona fide purchaser by the decedent at any time during the marriage to the surviving spouse, to or for the benefit of any person other than the surviving spouse, to the extent that the decedent did not receive full consideration in money or money's worth for the transfer, if the transfer was any of the following types:

a. Any transfer under which the decedent retained for his life, for any period not ascertainable without reference to his death, or for any period which does not in fact end before his death, the possession or enjoyment of, or the right to income from, the property;

b. Any transfer to the extent that the decedent retained for his life, for any period not ascertainable without reference to his death, or for any period which does not in fact end before his death, the power, either alone or in conjunction with any other person, to revoke or to consume, invade, or dispose of the principal for his own benefit;

c. Any transfer whereby property is held at the time of the decedent's death by the decedent and another with right of survivorship; or

d. Any transfer made to or for the benefit of a donee within the calendar year of the decedent's death or any of the five preceding calendar years to the extent that the aggregate value of the transfers to the donee exceeds the amount specified in § 2503(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, for that calendar year, without regard to whether the federal gift tax exclusion applies to the transfer.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the augmented estate shall not include (i) the value of any property transferred by the decedent during marriage with the written consent or joinder of the surviving spouse; (ii) the value of any property, its income, or proceeds received by the decedent, before or during the marriage to the surviving spouse, by gift, will, intestate succession, or any other method or form of transfer to the extent it was (a) received without full consideration in money or money's worth from a person other than the surviving spouse, and (b) maintained by the decedent as separate property; (iii) any transfer made to anyone other than the surviving spouse prior to January 1, 1991, to the extent that such transfer was irrevocable on that date; or (iv) the value of any property excluded from the augmented estate pursuant to § 64.2-317.

C. Property is valued as of the decedent's death, except that property irrevocably transferred during the lifetime of the decedent is valued as of the date the transferee came into possession or enjoyment of the property if such date precedes the date of the decedent's death.

1. Life estates and remainder interests are valued in the manner prescribed in Chapter 5 (§ 55.1-500 et seq.) of Title 55.1, and deferred payments and estates for years are discounted to present value using the interest rate specified in § 55.1-500.

2. The value of an insurance policy that is irrevocably transferred during the lifetime of a decedent is the cost of a comparable policy on the date of the transfer or, if such a policy is not readily available, the policy's interpolated terminal reserve. The value of any premiums paid on an insurance policy owned by another person is only the amount of the premiums paid and not the insurance purchased or maintained with such premiums.

3. An initial interest in property owned as a joint tenant with survivorship is valued at the time the interest is acquired, and a further interest received upon the death of a cotenant is valued at the time of the cotenant's death. Property owned jointly by persons married to each other is rebuttably presumed to have been acquired with contributions of equal value by each tenant. The mere creation of an indebtedness secured by jointly owned property is not a contribution to its acquisition, but any satisfaction of such an indebtedness is a contribution. An interest in a tenancy by the entireties is valued as if it were an interest in a joint tenancy with survivorship. Joint accounts in financial institutions are valued in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (§ 6.2-604 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 6.2.

1990, c. 831, § 64.1-16.1; 1992, cc. 617, 647; 1998, c. 234; 1999, c. 38; 2007, c. 308; 2012, c. 614; 2014, c. 532.

§ 64.2-305. (Effective until October 1, 2019) Augmented estate; exclusions; valuation.

A. The augmented estate means the decedent's entire estate passing by will or intestate succession, real and personal, after payment of allowances and exemptions under Article 2 (§ 64.2-309 et seq.) of this chapter, funeral expenses, charges of administration that shall not include federal or state transfer taxes, and debts, and to which is added the following amounts:

1. The value of property, other than tangible personal property received by gift and the proceeds thereof, owned or acquired by the surviving spouse at the decedent's death, to the extent the property is derived from the decedent by any means other than by will or intestate succession without full consideration in money or money's worth;

2. The value of property, other than tangible personal property received by gift and the proceeds thereof, derived by the surviving spouse from the decedent without full consideration in money or money's worth by any means other than by will or intestate succession, and transferred by the surviving spouse at any time during the marriage to a person other than the decedent, which would have been includable in the surviving spouse's augmented estate if the surviving spouse had predeceased the decedent; and

3. The value of property transferred to anyone other than a bona fide purchaser by the decedent at any time during the marriage to the surviving spouse, to or for the benefit of any person other than the surviving spouse, to the extent that the decedent did not receive full consideration in money or money's worth for the transfer, if the transfer was any of the following types:

a. Any transfer under which the decedent retained for his life, for any period not ascertainable without reference to his death, or for any period which does not in fact end before his death, the possession or enjoyment of, or the right to income from, the property;

b. Any transfer to the extent that the decedent retained for his life, for any period not ascertainable without reference to his death, or for any period which does not in fact end before his death, the power, either alone or in conjunction with any other person, to revoke or to consume, invade, or dispose of the principal for his own benefit;

c. Any transfer whereby property is held at the time of the decedent's death by the decedent and another with right of survivorship; or

d. Any transfer made to or for the benefit of a donee within the calendar year of the decedent's death or any of the five preceding calendar years to the extent that the aggregate value of the transfers to the donee exceeds the amount specified in § 2503(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, for that calendar year, without regard to whether the federal gift tax exclusion applies to the transfer.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the augmented estate shall not include (i) the value of any property transferred by the decedent during marriage with the written consent or joinder of the surviving spouse; (ii) the value of any property, its income, or proceeds received by the decedent, before or during the marriage to the surviving spouse, by gift, will, intestate succession, or any other method or form of transfer to the extent it was (a) received without full consideration in money or money's worth from a person other than the surviving spouse, and (b) maintained by the decedent as separate property; (iii) any transfer made to anyone other than the surviving spouse prior to January 1, 1991, to the extent that such transfer was irrevocable on that date; or (iv) the value of any property excluded from the augmented estate pursuant to § 64.2-317.

C. Property is valued as of the decedent's death, except that property irrevocably transferred during the lifetime of the decedent is valued as of the date the transferee came into possession or enjoyment of the property if such date precedes the date of the decedent's death.

1. Life estates and remainder interests are valued in the manner prescribed in Article 2 (§ 55-269.1 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 55, and deferred payments and estates for years are discounted to present value using the interest rate specified in § 55-269.1.

2. The value of an insurance policy that is irrevocably transferred during the lifetime of a decedent is the cost of a comparable policy on the date of the transfer or, if such a policy is not readily available, the policy's interpolated terminal reserve. The value of any premiums paid on an insurance policy owned by another person is only the amount of the premiums paid and not the insurance purchased or maintained with such premiums.

3. An initial interest in property owned as a joint tenant with survivorship is valued at the time the interest is acquired, and a further interest received upon the death of a cotenant is valued at the time of the cotenant's death. Property owned jointly by persons married to each other is rebuttably presumed to have been acquired with contributions of equal value by each tenant. The mere creation of an indebtedness secured by jointly owned property is not a contribution to its acquisition, but any satisfaction of such an indebtedness is a contribution. An interest in a tenancy by the entireties is valued as if it were an interest in a joint tenancy with survivorship. Joint accounts in financial institutions are valued in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (§ 6.2-604 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 6.2.

1990, c. 831, § 64.1-16.1; 1992, cc. 617, 647; 1998, c. 234; 1999, c. 38; 2007, c. 308; 2012, c. 614; 2014, c. 532.

§ 64.2-306. Charging spouse with the value of property received; liability of others for balance of elective share.

A. In determining the elective share, the value of property included in the augmented estate that passes or has passed to the surviving spouse, or that would have passed to the spouse but was disclaimed, is applied first to satisfy the elective share in order to reduce any contributions due from other recipients of transfers included in the augmented estate.

B. The recipients of the remaining property of the augmented estate are liable to contribute the balance of the elective share and any interest thereon in proportion to the value of their interests.

C. The only persons subject to contribution to make up the elective share are (i) an original transferee from or appointee of the decedent, and any subsequent gratuitous inter vivos donee or person claiming by will or intestate succession, to the extent such person has the property or its proceeds on or after the date of the decedent's death, and (ii) a fiduciary, as to the property under the fiduciary's control at or after the time a fiduciary receives notice that a surviving spouse has claimed an elective share in the decedent's estate. A corporate fiduciary shall not be considered to have notice until it receives notice at its address as shown in the decedent's estate papers in the clerk's office or, if there are no such papers or no address is shown therein, at the office of its registered agent.

No other party is subject to contribution to make up the elective share even though the party makes a payment or transfers an item of property or other benefit to any person with actual knowledge that a surviving spouse has claimed an elective share in the decedent's estate.

D. Upon the petition of the surviving spouse, the decedent's personal representative, or any party in interest, the court having jurisdiction over the administration of the decedent's estate shall determine the amount of the elective share and the ratable portion of the elective share attributable to each person liable to contribution. Such petition may be brought against fewer than all persons from whom relief could be sought, but no person is subject to contribution in any amount greater than that which he would have been if relief had been secured against all persons subject to contribution.

E. Within 30 days after the court's determination of the contributions due under subsection D becomes final and not subject to further appeal, any person liable to the surviving spouse for contribution may file with the court a written statement specifying any of the following methods for satisfying his contribution and interest liability:

1. Conveyance to the surviving spouse of a portion of the property included in the augmented estate equal in value to his liability on the date the contribution statement is filed, or if, on the date of filing, the value of the property included in the augmented estate is less than his liability, conveyance to the surviving spouse of the entire property included in the augmented estate in full satisfaction;

2. Payment of the value of his liability in cash or, upon agreement of the surviving spouse, other property; or

3. Partial conveyance and partial payment under subdivisions 1 and 2, provided that the value conveyed and paid is equal to his liability.

In the event a contribution statement is not filed within 30 days, the court shall enter an order specifying the method by which a person's liability to the surviving spouse shall be satisfied.

1990, c. 831, § 64.1-16.2; 1992, cc. 617, 647; 2007, c. 308; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-307. Rights in family residence.

Until the surviving spouse's rights in the principal family residence have been determined and satisfied by an agreement between the parties or a final court decree, in cases (i) where the principal family residence passes under the provisions of § 64.2-200 and the decedent is survived by children or their descendants, one or more of whom are not children or their descendants of the surviving spouse, or (ii) where the surviving spouse claims an elective share in the decedent's augmented estate under this article, the surviving spouse may hold, occupy, and enjoy the principal family residence and curtilage without charge for rent, repairs, taxes, or insurance. If the surviving spouse is deprived of possession of the principal family residence and curtilage, upon the filing of a complaint for unlawful entry or detainer, he is entitled to recover possession of such residence and damages sustained by him by reason of such deprivation during the time he was so deprived. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair the lien or delay the enforcement of such lien of the Commonwealth or any locality for the taxes assessed upon the property.

1990, c. 831, § 64.1-16.4; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-308. Statutory rights barred by desertion or abandonment.

A. If a spouse willfully deserts or abandons the other spouse and such desertion or abandonment continues until the death of the other spouse, the party who deserted the deceased spouse shall be barred of all interest in the decedent's estate by intestate succession, elective share, exempt property, family allowance, and homestead allowance.

B. If a parent willfully deserts or abandons his minor or incapacitated child and such desertion or abandonment continues until the death of the child, the parent shall be barred of all interest in the child's estate by intestate succession.

1990, c. 831, § 64.1-16.3; 1992, c. 795; 2012, c. 614.

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