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 3. Authority and General Duties.

§ 64.2-511. Powers of executor before qualification.

A person named in a will as executor shall not exercise the powers of executor until he qualifies as such by taking an oath and giving bond in the court or before the clerk where the will or an authenticated copy thereof is admitted to record, except that he may provide for the burial of the testator, pay reasonable funeral expenses, and preserve the estate from waste.

Code 1950, § 64-128; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-136; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-512. Funeral expenses.

Subject to the provisions of § 64.2-528, reasonable funeral and burial expenses of a decedent shall be considered an obligation of the decedent's estate, which shall be liable for such expenses to (i) the funeral establishment, (ii) the cemetery, (iii) any third-party creditor who finances the payment of such expenses, or (iv) any person authorized to make arrangements for the funeral of the decedent who has paid such expenses. A person who is authorized to make arrangements for the funeral of the decedent shall have the authority to bind the decedent's estate for such expenses and may execute, on behalf of the estate, any necessary instruments.

1999, c. 193, § 64.1-136.1; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-513. Effect of death, resignation, or removal of sole executor.

Upon the death, resignation, or removal of the sole surviving executor under any last will, administration of the estate of the testator not already administered may be granted, with the will annexed, to any person the court deems appropriate.

Code 1950, § 64-129; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-137; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-514. Duty of every personal representative.

Every personal representative shall administer, well and truly, the whole personal estate of his decedent.

Code 1950, § 64-131; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-139; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-515. Duty of fiduciaries as to joint accounts.

A. Except as provided in subsection B, a fiduciary charged with the administration of the estate of a decedent is not required to assert a claim on behalf of the decedent's estate to any funds on deposit in any financial institution in a joint account held, at the time of the decedent's death, in the name of the decedent and one or more other persons when the terms of the contract of deposit, or the laws of the state in which such funds are deposited, permit such financial institution to pay the funds to (i) any of such persons in whose name the account is held, whether the other, or others, are living or not, or (ii) a named survivor or survivors.

B. The fiduciary shall assert a claim to such funds if he receives a request in writing from any person interested in the estate within six months from the date of the initial qualification of the estate. The fiduciary, or his attorney, shall acknowledge in writing receipt of such request within 10 days, and if the fiduciary is the surviving cotenant of such funds, the fiduciary shall segregate such funds and place such funds in an interest-bearing account, awaiting an appropriate court order concerning the ultimate disposition of such funds. The fiduciary shall not use such funds for his own personal account. However, if the fiduciary accedes to the request that such funds be treated as estate funds, the fiduciary may distribute the funds according to law without any court order.

Code 1950, § 64-131.1; 1966, c. 600; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-140; 1970, c. 425; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-516. Duties of fiduciaries as to certain obligations of the United States.

A. Except as provided in subsection B, a fiduciary charged with the administration of the estate of a decedent is not required to assert a claim to or seek to recover the whole or any part of funds arising from the redemption or payment of bonds of the United States that are paid or payable to others under the applicable laws of the United States or rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

B. The fiduciary shall assert a claim to such funds if he receives a request in writing from any person interested in the estate within six months from the date of the initial qualification of the estate. The fiduciary, or his attorney, shall acknowledge in writing receipt of such request within 10 days, and if the fiduciary is the co-owner of such funds, the fiduciary shall segregate such funds and place such funds in an interest-bearing account, awaiting an appropriate court order concerning the ultimate disposition of such funds. The fiduciary shall not use such funds for his own personal account. However, if the fiduciary accedes to the request that such funds be treated as estate funds, the fiduciary may distribute the funds according to law without any court order.

Code 1950, § 64-131.2; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-141; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-517. Exercise of discretionary powers by surviving executors or administrators with the will annexed.

A. When discretionary powers are conferred upon the executors under any will and some, but not all, of the executors die, resign, or become incapable of acting, the executors or executor remaining shall continue to exercise the discretionary powers conferred by the will, unless the will expressly provides that the discretionary powers cannot be exercised by fewer than all of the original executors named in the will.

B. When discretionary powers are conferred upon the executors under any will and all of the executors or the sole executor if only one is named in the will dies, resigns, or becomes incapable of acting, the administrator with the will annexed appointed by the court shall exercise the discretionary powers conferred by the will upon the original executors or executor, unless the will expressly provides that the discretionary powers can only be exercised by the executors or executor named in the will.

Code 1950, § 64-132; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-142; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-518. When personal representative may renew obligation of decedent.

A. When a decedent is obligated on any note, bond, or other obligation for the payment of money that is due at the time of the decedent's death, or becomes due prior to the settlement of the decedent's estate, the decedent's personal representative may execute, in the same capacity as the decedent was obligated, a new note, bond, or other obligation for the payment of money for no more than the same amount as the sum due on the original obligation, including both principal and interest, which shall be in lieu of the obligation of the decedent, whether made payable to the original holder or another. Any note, bond, or other obligation executed by the personal representative shall be binding upon the estate of the decedent to the same extent and in the same manner as the original note, bond, or other obligation executed by the decedent.

B. The personal representative may renew such note, bond, or other obligation for the payment of money from time to time, provided, that the time for final payment of the note, bond, or other obligation, or any renewal thereof, shall not exceed two years from the qualification of the original personal representative, unless otherwise ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.

C. The personal representative is not personally liable for any note, bond, or other obligation for the payment of money executed pursuant to this section.

Code 1950, § 64-133; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-143; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-519. Suits upon judgment and contracts of decedent and actions for personal injury or wrongful death.

A personal representative may sue or be sued (i) upon any judgment for or against the decedent, (ii) upon any contract of or with the decedent, or (iii) in any action for personal injury or wrongful death against or on behalf of the estate.

Code 1950, § 64-134; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-144; 2001, c. 223; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-520. Action for goods carried away, or for waste, destruction of, or damage to estate of decedent.

A. Any action for damages for the taking or carrying away of any goods, or for the waste, destruction of, or damage to any estate of or by the decedent, whether such damage be direct or indirect, may be maintained by or against the decedent's personal representative.

B. Any action pursuant to this section shall survive pursuant to § 8.01-25.

Code 1950, § 64-135; 1968, c. 656, § 64.1-145; 1977, c. 624; 2004, c. 368; 2012, c. 614; 2017, cc. 43, 93.

§ 64.2-520.1. Action for damages from legal malpractice concerning estate planning.

A. An action for damages to an individual or an individual's estate, including future tax liability, resulting from legal malpractice concerning the individual's estate planning, including the provision of legal advice or the preparation of legal documents, regardless of when executed, shall accrue upon completion of the representation during which the malpractice occurred.

B. Notwithstanding § 55.1-119, but subject to any written agreement between the individual and the defendant that expressly grants standing to a person who is not a party to the representation by specific reference to this subsection, the action may be maintained only by the individual or by the individual's personal representative.

C. An action for damages pursuant to this section in which a written contract for legal services existed between the individual and the defendant shall be brought within five years after the cause of action accrues as provided in this section. An action for damages pursuant to this section in which an unwritten contract for legal services existed between the individual and the defendant shall be brought within three years after the cause of action accrues as provided in this section.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, no such action shall be based upon damages that may reasonably be avoided or that result from a change of law subsequent to the representation upon which the action is based.

E. Any action pursuant to this section shall survive pursuant to § 8.01-25.

2017, cc. 43, 93.

§ 64.2-520.2. Reliance on certificate of qualification of a personal representative.

A. Any individual or entity conducting business in good faith with a personal representative who presents a currently effective certificate of qualification may presume that the personal representative is properly authorized to act as to any matter or transaction. A person that refuses in violation of this section to accept a certificate of qualification is subject to (i) a court order mandating acceptance of the certificate of qualification and (ii) liability for reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred in any action or proceeding that confirms the validity of the certificate of qualification or mandates acceptance of the certificate of qualification.

B. A person shall either accept or reject a certificate of qualification no later than seven business days after presentation of such certificate of qualification for acceptance. A person is not required to accept a certificate of qualification for a transaction if:

1. Engaging in the transaction with the personal representative would be inconsistent with state or federal law;

2. The person has actual knowledge of the termination of the personal representative's authority or of the certificate of qualification before exercise of the power;

3. The person in good faith believes that the certificate of qualification is not valid or that the personal representative does not have the authority to perform the act requested; or

4. The person believes in good faith that the transaction may involve, facilitate, result in, or contribute to financial exploitation.

2020, c. 702.