Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 64.2. Wills, Trusts, and Fiduciaries
Chapter 5. Personal Representatives and Administration of Estates
12/4/2022

Article 1. Appointment and Qualification.

§ 64.2-500. Grant of administration with the will annexed.

A. If the will does not name an executor, or the executor named refuses to accept, fails to give bond, or dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the court or clerk may grant administration with the will annexed to a person who is a residual or substantial legatee under the will, or his designee, or if such person fails to apply for administration within 30 days, to a person who would have been entitled to administration if there had been no will.

B. Administration shall not be granted to any person unless he takes the required oath and gives bond, and the court or clerk is satisfied that he is suitable and competent to perform the duties of his office. Administration shall not be granted to any person under a disability as defined in § 8.01-2.

C. If any beneficiary of the estate objects, a spouse or parent who has been barred from all interest in the estate because of desertion or abandonment as provided under § 64.2-308 or 64.2-308.17, as applicable, may not serve as an administrator of the estate.

Code 1950, § 64-112; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-116; 1979, c. 323; 2000, c. 321; 2012, c. 614; 2016, cc. 187, 269.

§ 64.2-501. Oath of executor or administrator with the will annexed.

An executor or administrator with the will annexed shall take an oath that the writing admitted to record contains the true last will of the decedent, so far as he knows, and that he will faithfully perform the duties of his office to the best of his judgment. Such oath may be taken on behalf of a corporation by its president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, or trust officer.

Code 1950, § 64-113; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-117; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-502. Grant of administration of intestate estate.

A. The court or the clerk who would have jurisdiction as to the probate of a will, if there were a will, has jurisdiction to hear and determine the right of administration of the estate in the case of a person dying intestate. Administration shall be granted as follows:

1. During the first 30 days following the decedent's death, the court or the clerk may grant administration to a sole distributee, or his designee, or in the absence of a sole distributee, to any distributee, or his designee, who presents written waivers of the right to qualify from all other competent distributees.

2. After 30 days have passed since the decedent's death, the court or the clerk may grant administration to the first distributee, or his designee, who applies, provided, that if, during the first 30 days following the decedent's death, more than one distributee notifies the court or the clerk of an intent to qualify after the 30-day period has elapsed, the court or the clerk shall not grant administration to any distributee, or his designee, until the court or the clerk has given all such distributees an opportunity to be heard.

3. After 45 days have passed since the decedent's death, the court or the clerk may grant administration to any nonprofit charitable organization that operated as a conservator or guardian for the decedent at the time of his death if such organization certifies that it has made a diligent search to find an address for any sole distributee and has sent notice by certified mail to the last known address of any such distributee of its intention to apply for administration at least 30 days before such application, or, that it has not been able to find any address for such distributee. However, if, during the first 45 days following the decedent's death, any distributee notifies the court or the clerk of an intent to qualify after the 45-day period has elapsed, the court or the clerk shall not grant administration to any such organization until the court or the clerk has given all such distributees an opportunity to be heard. Qualification of such nonprofit charitable organization is not subject to challenge on account of the failure to make the certification required by this subdivision.

4. After 60 days have passed since the decedent's death, the court or the clerk may grant administration to one or more of the creditors or to any other person, provided such creditor or person other than a distributee certifies that he has made a diligent search to find an address for any sole distributee and has sent notice by certified mail to the last known address of any such distributee of his intention to apply for administration at least 30 days before such application, or that he has not been able to find any address for such distributee. Qualification of a creditor or person other than a distributee is not subject to challenge on account of the failure to make the certification required by this subdivision.

B. When granting administration, if the court determines that it is in the best interests of a decedent's estate, the court may depart from the provisions of this section at any time and grant administration to such person as the court deems appropriate.

C. The court or clerk may admit to probate a will of the decedent after a grant of administration. If administration has been granted to a creditor or person other than a distributee, the court or clerk may grant administration to a distributee who applies for administration and who has not previously been refused administration after reasonable notice has been given to such creditor or other person previously granted administration. Admission of a will to probate or the grant of administration pursuant to this subsection terminates any previous grant of administration.

D. The court or clerk shall not grant administration to any person unless satisfied that he is suitable and competent to perform the duties of his office. The clerk shall require such person to sign under oath that such person is not under a disability as defined in § 8.01-2 or, regardless of whether his civil rights have been restored, has not been convicted of a felony offense of (i) fraud or misrepresentation or (ii) robbery, extortion, burglary, larceny, embezzlement, fraudulent conversion, perjury, bribery, treason, or racketeering. However, if the person convicted of such felony offense is the sole distributee of the estate, then the court or clerk may grant administration to such person if he is otherwise suitable and competent to perform the duties of his office.

E. If any beneficiary of the estate objects, a spouse or parent who has been barred from all interest in the estate because of desertion or abandonment as provided under § 64.2-308 or 64.2-308.17, as applicable, may not serve as an administrator of the estate of the deceased spouse or child.

Code 1950, §§ 64-114, 64-115; 1968, c. 656, §§ 64.1-118, 64.1-119; 1978, c. 483; 2000, c. 321; 2002, c. 197; 2006, c. 724; 2012, c. 614; 2015, c. 551; 2016, cc. 187, 269.

§ 64.2-503. Oath and bond of administrator of intestate estate.

An administrator of an intestate estate shall give bond and take an oath that the decedent has left no will, so far as he knows, and that he will faithfully perform the duties of his office to the best of his judgment. Such oath may be taken on behalf of a corporation by its president, a vice-president, secretary, treasurer, or trust officer.

Code 1950, § 64-115; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-119; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-504. Bond of executor or administrator.

A. Except as provided in subsection B, every bond of an executor or administrator shall be, at least, in an amount equal to (i) the full value of the personal estate of the decedent to be administered, or (ii) if the will authorizes the executor or administrator to sell real estate, or receive the rents and profits thereof, the full value of the personal estate and such real estate, or the rents and profits thereof, as the case may be.

B. Upon the request of an executor or administrator, the clerk shall redetermine the amount of the bond in light of any reduction in the current market value of the estate in the executor's or administrator's possession or subject to his power, whether such reduction is due to disbursements, distributions, or valuation of assets, if such reduction is reflected in an accounting that has been confirmed by the court or an inventory that has been approved by the commissioner of accounts and recorded in the clerk's office. This provision shall not apply to any bond set by the court.

Code 1950, § 64-116; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-120; 1996, c. 317; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-505. When security not required.

A. The court or clerk shall require a personal representative to furnish security. However, the court or clerk shall not require a personal representative to furnish security if:

1. All distributees of a decedent's estate or all beneficiaries under the decedent's will are personal representatives of that decedent's estate, whether serving alone or with others who are not distributees or beneficiaries; however, if all personal representatives of a testate decedent are entitled to file a statement in lieu of an accounting under § 64.2-1314, the security shall be required only upon the portion of their bond given in connection with the property passing to beneficiaries who are not personal representatives; or

2. The will waives security of an executor nominated therein.

B. Notwithstanding subsection A, upon the motion of a legatee, devisee, or distributee of an estate, or any person who has a pecuniary interest in an estate, the court or clerk may require the personal representative to furnish security. A copy of such motion shall be served upon the personal representative. The court shall conduct a hearing on the motion and may require the personal representative to furnish security in an amount it deems sufficient and may award the movant reasonable attorney fees and costs which shall be paid out of the estate.

C. This section shall be deemed to permit qualification without security where the personal representative is the only distributee or only beneficiary by virtue of one or more instruments of disclaimer filed prior to, or at the time of, such personal representative's qualification.

Code 1950, § 64-117; 1966, c. 325; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-121; 1970, c. 426; 1974, c. 140; 1977, c. 144; 1994, c. 393; 1996, c. 57; 2012, c. 614; 2014, c. 291; 2015, c. 631.

§ 64.2-506. When letters of administration and order for obtaining probate in due form are required.

The court or clerk may issue a certificate of qualification to any personal representative for obtaining probate or letters of administration, which shall be given the same effect as the probate or letters made out in due form. The clerk when required by any personal representative, shall make out such probate or letters in due form that shall be signed by the clerk, sealed with the seal of the court, and certified by the judge to be attested in due form.

Code 1950, § 64-118; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-122; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-507. Clerks to deliver statement of responsibilities.

The clerk of any court in which any person qualifies as executor or administrator of an estate shall deliver to such person, at the time of qualification, a statement in at least the following form: "As an executor or administrator of an estate, you are charged with the responsibility of filing any income, inheritance or estate tax returns required by state or federal law and an accounting of your handling of the estate."

1980, c. 292, § 64.1-122.1; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-508. Written notice of probate, qualification, and entitlement to copies of inventories, accounts, and reports to be provided to certain parties.

A. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a personal representative of a decedent's estate, including an administrator appointed pursuant to § 64.2-454, or a proponent of a decedent's will when there is no qualification shall provide written notice of qualification or probate, and notice of entitlement to copies of wills, inventories, accounts, and reports, to the following persons:

1. The surviving spouse of the decedent, if any;

2. All heirs at law of the decedent, whether or not there is a will;

3. All living and ascertained beneficiaries under the will of the decedent, including those who may take under § 64.2-418, and beneficiaries of any trust created by the will; and

4. All living and ascertained beneficiaries under any will of the decedent previously probated in the same court.

B. Notice under subsection A need not be provided to the following persons:

1. A personal representative or proponent of the will;

2. Any person who has signed a waiver of right to receive notice;

3. Any person to whom a summons has been issued pursuant to § 64.2-446;

4. Any person who is the subject of a conservatorship, guardianship, or committeeship, if notice is provided to his conservator, guardian, or committee;

5. Any beneficiary of a trust, other than a trust created by the decedent's will, if notice is provided to the trustee of the trust;

6. Any heir or beneficiary who survived the decedent but is deceased at the time of qualification or probate, and such person's successors in interest, if notice is provided to such person's personal representative;

7. Any minor for whom no guardian has been appointed, if notice is provided to his parent or person in loco parentis;

8. Any beneficiary of a pecuniary bequest or of a bequest of tangible personal property, provided in either case the beneficiary is not an heir at law and the value of the bequest is not in excess of $5,000; and

9. Any unborn or unascertained persons.

C. The notice shall include the following information:

1. The name and date of death of the decedent;

2. The name, address, and telephone number of a personal representative or a proponent of a will;

3. The mailing address of the clerk of the court in which the personal representative qualified or the will was probated;

4. A statement as follows: "This notice does not mean that you will receive any money or property";

5. A statement as follows: "If personal representatives qualified on this estate, unless otherwise specifically exempted under Virginia law, they are required by law to file an inventory with the commissioner of accounts within four months after they qualify in the clerk's office, to file an account within 16 months of their qualification, and to file additional accounts within 16 months from the date of their last account period until the estate is settled. If you make written request therefor to the personal representatives, they must mail copies of these documents (not including any supporting vouchers, but including a copy of the decedent's will) to you at the same time the inventory or account is filed with the commissioner of accounts unless (i) you would take only as an heir at law in a case where all of the decedent's probate estate is disposed of by will or (ii) your gift has been satisfied in full before the time of such filing. Your written request may be made at any time; it may relate to one specific filing or to all filings to be made by the personal representative, but it will not be effective for filings made prior to its receipt by a personal representative. A copy of your request may be sent to the commissioner of accounts with whom the filings will be made. After the commissioner of accounts has completed work on an account filed by a personal representative, the commissioner files it and a report thereon in the clerk's office of the court wherein the personal representative qualified. If you make written request therefor to the commissioner before this filing, the commissioner must mail a copy of this report and any attachments (excluding the account) to you on or before the date that they are filed in the clerk's office"; and

6. The mailing address of the commissioner of accounts with whom the inventory and accounts must be filed by the personal representatives, if they are required.

D. Within 30 days after the date of qualification or admission of the will to probate, a personal representative or proponent of the will shall forward notice by delivery or by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the persons entitled to notice at their last known address.

E. Failure to give the notice required by this section shall not (i) affect the validity of the probate of a decedent's will or (ii) render any person required to give notice, who has acted in good faith, liable to any person entitled to receive notice. In determining the limitation period for any rights that may commence upon or accrue by reason of such probate or qualification in favor of any entitled person, the time that elapses from the date that notice should have been given to the date that notice is given shall not be counted, unless the person required to give notice could not determine the name and address of the entitled person after the exercise of reasonable diligence.

F. The personal representative or proponent of the will shall record within four months in the clerk's office where the will is recorded an affidavit stating (i) the names and addresses of the persons to whom he has mailed or delivered notice and when the notice was mailed or delivered to each or (ii) that no notice was required to be given to any person. The commissioner of accounts shall not approve any settlement filed by a personal representative until the affidavit described in this subsection has been recorded. If the personal representative of an estate or the proponent of a will is unable to determine the name and address of any person to whom notice is required after the exercise of reasonable diligence, a statement to that effect in the required affidavit shall be sufficient for purposes of this subsection. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, any person having an interest in an estate may give the notice required by this section and record the affidavit described in this subsection. If this subsection has not been complied with within four months after qualification, the commissioner of accounts shall issue, through the sheriff or other proper officer, a summons to such fiduciary requiring him to comply, and if the fiduciary does not comply, the commissioner shall enforce the filing of the affidavit in the manner set forth in § 64.2-1215.

G. The form of the notice to be given pursuant to this section, which shall contain appropriate instructions regarding its use, shall be provided to each clerk of the circuit court by the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and each clerk shall provide copies of such form to the proponents of a will or those qualifying on an estate.

1993, c. 4, § 64.1-122.2; 2001, cc. 78, 265; 2002, c. 716; 2012, c. 614; 2022, c. 777.