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Code of Virginia
Title 64.2. Wills, Trusts, and Fiduciaries
Chapter 7. Uniform Trust Code
12/3/2022

Article 1. General Provisions and Definitions.

§ 64.2-700. Scope.

A. This chapter applies to express inter vivos trusts, charitable or noncharitable, and trusts created pursuant to a statute, judgment, or decree that requires the trust to be administered in the manner of an express trust. This chapter also applies to testamentary trusts, except to the extent that specific provision is made for them in Part A (§ 64.2-1200 et seq.) of Subtitle IV or elsewhere in the Code of Virginia, or to the extent it is clearly inapplicable to them. Section 64.2-775, which provides the duties of a trustee to inform and report to the trust's beneficiaries, shall apply to testamentary trusts. For purposes of this subsection, the word "trust" and the words "trustee" or "fiduciary," as used in Part A (§ 64.2-1200 et seq.) of Subtitle IV, shall be deemed to refer to testamentary trusts and testamentary trustees, except to the extent that the use of such words is clearly inapplicable to testamentary trusts and testamentary trustees. This chapter shall not apply to:

1. A trust that is primarily used for business, investment, or commercial transactions, including business trusts, land trusts (§ 55.1-117), deeds of trusts (Article 2 (§ 55.1-316 et seq.) of Chapter 3 of Title 55.1), voting trusts, common trust funds, security arrangements, liquidation trusts, trusts created by deposit arrangement in a financial institution, and trusts created for paying debts, dividends, interest, or profits.

2. A trust that is used primarily for employment including trusts created for paying salaries, wages, pensions, or employee benefits of any kind.

3. A trust under which a person is a nominee or escrowee for another.

4. Other special purpose trusts governed by particular statutes, including trusts under Title 57.

B. Notwithstanding subsection A, a court, in exercising jurisdiction over the supervision or administration of trusts, may determine that application of the policies, procedures, or rules of the Code is appropriate to resolution of particular issues.

2005, c. 935, § 55-541.02; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-701. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Action," with respect to an act of a trustee, includes a failure to act.

"Appointive property" means the property or property interest subject to a power of appointment.

"Ascertainable standard" means a standard relating to an individual's health, education, support, or maintenance within the meaning of § 2041(b)(1)(A) or 2514(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and any applicable regulations.

"Authorized fiduciary" means (i) a trustee or other fiduciary, other than a settlor, that has discretion to distribute or direct a trustee to distribute part or all of the income or principal of the first trust to one or more current beneficiaries and that is not (a) a current beneficiary of the first trust or a beneficiary to which the net income or principal of the first trust would be distributed if the first trust were terminated, (b) a trustee of the first trust that may be removed and replaced by a current beneficiary who has the power to remove the existing trustee of the first trust and designate as successor trustee a person that may be a related or subordinate party, as defined in 26 U.S.C. § 672(c), with respect to such current beneficiary, or (c) an individual trustee whose legal obligation to support a beneficiary may be satisfied by distributions of income and principal of the first trust; (ii) a special fiduciary appointed under § 64.2-779.6; or (iii) a special-needs fiduciary under § 64.2-779.10.

"Beneficiary" means a person that (i) has a present or future, vested or contingent, beneficial interest in a trust; (ii) holds a power of appointment over trust property; or (iii) is an identified charitable organization that will or may receive distributions under the terms of the trust.

"Charitable interest" means an interest in a trust that (i) is held by an identified charitable organization and makes the organization a qualified beneficiary; (ii) benefits only charitable organizations and, if the interest were held by an identified charitable organization, would make the organization a qualified beneficiary; or (iii) is held solely for charitable purposes and, if the interest were held by an identified charitable organization, would make the organization a qualified beneficiary.

"Charitable organization" means (i) a person, other than an individual, organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes or (ii) a government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, to the extent that it holds funds exclusively for a charitable purpose.

"Charitable purpose" means the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, the promotion of health, a municipal or other governmental purpose, or another purpose the achievement of which is beneficial to the community.

"Charitable trust" means a trust, or portion of a trust, created for a charitable purpose described in § 64.2-723.

"Conservator" means a person appointed by the court to administer the estate of an adult individual.

"Court" means the court of the Commonwealth having jurisdiction in matters related to trusts.

"Current beneficiary" means a beneficiary that on the date the beneficiary's qualification is determined is a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal. "Current beneficiary" includes the holder of a presently exercisable general power of appointment but does not include a person that is a beneficiary only because the person holds any other power of appointment.

"Decanting power" means the power of an authorized fiduciary under the Uniform Trust Decanting Act (§ 64.2-779.1 et seq.) to distribute property of a first trust to one or more second trusts or to modify the terms of the first trust.

"Directed trustee" means a trustee that is subject to a trust director's power of direction.

"Environmental law" means a federal, state, or local law, rule, regulation, or ordinance relating to protection of the environment.

"Expanded distributive discretion" means a discretionary power of distribution that is not limited to an ascertainable standard or a reasonably definite standard.

"First trust" means a trust over which an authorized fiduciary may exercise the decanting power.

"First-trust instrument" means the trust instrument for a first trust.

"General power of appointment" means a power of appointment exercisable in favor of a powerholder, the powerholder's estate, a creditor of the powerholder, or a creditor of the powerholder's estate.

"Guardian" means a person appointed by the court to make decisions regarding the support, care, education, health, and welfare of a minor or adult individual. The term does not include a guardian ad litem.

"Guardian of the estate" means a person appointed by the court to administer the estate of a minor.

"Interests of the beneficiaries" means the beneficial interests provided in the terms of the trust.

"Jurisdiction," with respect to a geographic area, includes a state or country.

"Person" means an individual; estate; business or nonprofit entity; government; governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality; public corporation; or other legal entity.

"Powerholder" means a person in which a donor creates a power of appointment.

"Power of appointment" means a power that enables a powerholder acting in a nonfiduciary capacity to designate a recipient of an ownership interest in or another power of appointment over the appointive property. "Power of appointment" does not include a power of attorney.

"Power of direction" means a power over a trust granted to a person by the terms of the trust to the extent the power is exercisable while the person is not serving as a trustee. The term includes a power over the investment, management, or distribution of trust property or other matters of trust administration. The term excludes the powers described in subsection A of § 64.2-779.28.

"Power of withdrawal" means a presently exercisable general power of appointment other than a power exercisable by a trustee that is limited by an ascertainable standard, or that is exercisable by another person only upon consent of the trustee or a person holding an adverse interest.

"Presently exercisable power of appointment" means a power of appointment exercisable by the powerholder at the relevant time. "Presently exercisable power of appointment" includes a power of appointment exercisable only after the occurrence of a specified event, the satisfaction of an ascertainable standard, or the passage of a specified time, only after (i) the occurrence of the specified event, (ii) the satisfaction of the ascertainable standard, or (iii) the passage of the specified time. "Presently exercisable power of appointment" does not include a power exercisable only at the powerholder's death.

"Property" means anything that may be the subject of ownership, whether real or personal, legal or equitable, or any interest therein.

"Qualified beneficiary" means a beneficiary who, on the date the beneficiary's qualification is determined, (i) is a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal; (ii) would be a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal if the interests of the distributees described in clause (i) terminated on that date without causing the trust to terminate; or (iii) would be a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal if the trust terminated on that date.

"Reasonably definite standard" means a clearly measurable standard under which a holder of a power of distribution is legally accountable within the meaning of § 674(b)(5)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and any applicable regulations.

"Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

"Revocable," as applied to a trust, means revocable by the settlor without the consent of the trustee or a person holding an adverse interest.

"Second trust" means (i) a first trust after modification, including a restatement of the first trust, under the Uniform Trust Decanting Act (§ 64.2-779.1 et seq.) or (ii) a trust to which a distribution of property from a first trust is or may be made under the Uniform Trust Decanting Act (§ 64.2-779.1 et seq.).

"Second-trust instrument" means the trust instrument for a second trust.

"Settlor," except as otherwise provided in § 64.2-779.22, means a person, including a testator, who creates or contributes property to a trust. If more than one person creates or contributes property to a trust, each person is a settlor of the portion of the trust property attributable to that person's contribution except to the extent another person has the power to revoke or withdraw that portion.

"Sign" means, with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record, (i) to execute or adopt a tangible symbol or (ii) to attach to or logically associate with the record an electronic symbol, sound, or process.

"Spendthrift provision" means a term of a trust that restrains both voluntary and involuntary transfer of a beneficiary's interest.

"State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The term includes an Indian tribe or band recognized by federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.

"Terms of a trust" means:

1. Except as otherwise provided in subdivision 2, the manifestation of the settlor's intent regarding a trust's provisions as (i) expressed in the trust instrument or (ii) established by other evidence that would be admissible in a judicial proceeding; or

2. The trust's provisions as established, determined, or amended by (i) a trustee or trust director in accordance with applicable law, (ii) court order, or (iii) a nonjudicial settlement agreement under § 64.2-709.

"Trust director" means a person that is granted a power of direction by the terms of a trust to the extent the power is exercisable while the person is not serving as a trustee. The person is a trust director whether or not the terms of the trust refer to the person as a trust director and whether or not the person is a beneficiary or settlor of the trust.

"Trust instrument" means a record executed by the settlor to create a trust or by any person to create a second trust that contains some or all of the terms of the trust, including any amendments.

"Trustee" includes an original, additional, and successor trustee and a cotrustee.

2005, c. 935, § 55-541.03; 2012, c. 614; 2017, c. 592; 2018, c. 476; 2020, c. 768.

§ 64.2-702. Knowledge.

A. Subject to subsection B, a person has knowledge of a fact if the person:

1. Has actual knowledge of it;

2. Has received a notice or notification of it; or

3. From all the facts and circumstances known to the person at the time in question, has reason to know it.

B. An organization that conducts activities through employees has notice or knowledge of a fact involving a trust only from the time the information was received by an employee having responsibility to act for the trust, or would have been brought to the employee's attention if the organization had exercised reasonable diligence. An organization exercises reasonable diligence if it maintains reasonable routines for communicating significant information to the employee having responsibility to act for the trust and there is reasonable compliance with the routines. Reasonable diligence does not require an employee of the organization to communicate information unless the communication is part of the individual's regular duties or the individual knows a matter involving the trust would be materially affected by the information.

2005, c. 935, § 55-541.04; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-703. Default and mandatory rules.

A. Except as otherwise provided in the terms of the trust, this chapter governs the duties and powers of a trustee, relations among trustees, and the rights and interests of a beneficiary.

B. The terms of a trust prevail over any provision of this chapter except:

1. The requirements for creating a trust;

2. Subject to subsection I of § 64.2-756 and §§ 64.2-779.32 and 64.2-779.34, the duty of a trustee to act in good faith and in accordance with the terms and purposes of the trust and the interests of the beneficiaries;

3. The requirement that a trust and its terms be for the benefit of its beneficiaries, and that the trust have a purpose that is lawful, not contrary to public policy, and possible to achieve;

4. The power of the court to modify or terminate a trust under §§ 64.2-728 through 64.2-734;

5. The effect of a spendthrift provision and the rights of certain creditors and assignees to reach a trust as provided in Article 5 (§ 64.2-742 et seq.);

6. The power of the court under § 64.2-755 to require, dispense with, or modify or terminate a bond;

7. The power of the court under subsection B of § 64.2-761 to adjust a trustee's compensation specified in the terms of the trust that is unreasonably low or high;

8. The effect of an exculpatory term under § 64.2-799;

9. The rights under §§ 64.2-801 through 64.2-804 of a person other than a trustee or beneficiary;

10. Periods of limitation for commencing a judicial proceeding; and

11. The power of the court to take such action and exercise such jurisdiction as may be necessary in the interests of justice.

2005, c. 935, § 55-541.05; 2007, c. 216; 2012, c. 614; 2020, c. 768.

§ 64.2-704. Common law of trusts; principles of equity.

The common law of trusts and principles of equity supplement this chapter, except to the extent modified by this chapter or another statute of the Commonwealth.

2005, c. 935, § 55-541.06; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-705. Governing law.

The meaning and effect of the terms of a trust are determined by:

1. The law of the jurisdiction designated in the terms unless the designation of that jurisdiction's law is contrary to a strong public policy of the jurisdiction having the most significant relationship to the matter at issue; or

2. In the absence of a controlling designation in the terms of the trust, the law of the jurisdiction having the most significant relationship to the matter at issue.

2005, c. 935, § 55-541.07; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-706. Principal place of administration.

A. Without precluding other means for establishing a sufficient connection with the designated jurisdiction, terms of an inter vivos trust designating the principal place of administration are valid and controlling if:

1. A trustee's principal place of business is located in or a trustee is a resident of the designated jurisdiction;

2. A trust director's principal place of business is located in or a trust director is a resident of the designated jurisdiction; or

3. All or part of the administration occurs in the designated jurisdiction.

B. Without precluding the right of the court to order, approve, or disapprove a transfer, the trustee of an inter vivos trust may transfer the trust's principal place of administration to another state or to a jurisdiction outside of the United States that is appropriate to the trust's purposes, its administration, and the interests of the beneficiaries.

C. When the proposed transfer of a trust's principal place of administration is to another state or to a jurisdiction outside of the United States, the trustee shall notify the qualified beneficiaries of the proposed transfer not less than 60 days before initiating the transfer. A corporate trustee that maintains a place of business in the Commonwealth where one or more trust officers are available on a regular basis for personal contact with trust customers and beneficiaries shall not be deemed to have transferred its principal place of administration if all or significant portions of the administration of the trust are performed outside the Commonwealth. The notice of proposed transfer shall include:

1. The name of the jurisdiction to which the principal place of administration is to be transferred;

2. The address and telephone number at the new location at which the trustee can be contacted;

3. An explanation of the reasons for the proposed transfer;

4. The date on which the proposed transfer is anticipated to occur; and

5. The date, not less than 60 days after the giving of the notice, by which the qualified beneficiary shall notify the trustee of an objection to the proposed transfer.

D. The authority of a trustee under this section to transfer a trust's principal place of administration to another state or to a jurisdiction outside of the United States terminates if a qualified beneficiary notifies the trustee of an objection to the proposed transfer on or before the date specified in the notice.

E. In connection with a transfer of the trust's principal place of administration, the trustee may transfer some or all of the trust property to a successor trustee designated in the terms of the trust or appointed pursuant to § 64.2-757.

F. The court, for good cause shown, may transfer the principal place of administration of a testamentary trust to another state or to a jurisdiction outside of the United States upon such conditions, if any, as it may deem appropriate.

2005, c. 935, § 55-541.08; 2012, c. 614; 2020, c. 768.

§ 64.2-707. Methods and waiver of notice.

A. Notice to a person under this chapter or the sending of a document to a person under this chapter shall be accomplished in a manner reasonably suitable under the circumstances and likely to result in receipt of the notice or document. Permissible methods of notice or for sending a document include first-class mail, personal delivery, delivery to the person's last known place of residence or place of business, or a properly directed electronic message.

B. Notice otherwise required under this chapter or a document otherwise required to be sent under this chapter need not be provided to a person whose identity or location is unknown to and not reasonably ascertainable by the trustee.

C. Notice under this chapter or the sending of a document under this chapter may be waived by the person to be notified or sent the document.

D. Notice of a judicial proceeding shall be given as provided in § 64.2-713.

2005, c. 935, § 55-541.09; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-708. Others treated as qualified beneficiaries.

A. Whenever notice to qualified beneficiaries of a trust is required under this chapter, the trustee shall also give notice to any other beneficiary who has sent the trustee a request for notice.

B. A charitable organization expressly designated to receive distributions under the terms of a charitable trust has the rights of a qualified beneficiary under this chapter if the charitable organization, on the date of the charitable organization's qualification is being determined:

1. Is a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal;

2. Would be a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal upon the termination of the interests of other distributees or permissible distributees then receiving or eligible to receive distributions; or

3. Would be a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal if the trust terminated on that date.

C. A person appointed to enforce a trust created for the care of an animal or another noncharitable purpose as provided in § 64.2-726 or 64.2-727 has the rights of a qualified beneficiary under this chapter.

D. The Attorney General has the rights of a qualified beneficiary with respect to a charitable trust having its principal place of administration in the Commonwealth but need not be given notices or information required under §§ 64.2-758 and 64.2-775 unless otherwise requested.

2005, c. 935, § 55-541.10; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-709. Nonjudicial settlement agreements.

A. For purposes of this section, "interested persons" means persons whose consent would be required in order to achieve a binding settlement were the settlement to be approved by the court.

B. Except as otherwise provided in subsection C, interested persons may enter into a binding nonjudicial settlement agreement with respect to any matter involving a trust.

C. A nonjudicial settlement agreement is valid only to the extent it does not violate a material purpose of the trust and includes terms and conditions that could be properly approved by the court under this chapter or other applicable law.

D. Matters that may be resolved by a nonjudicial settlement agreement include:

1. The interpretation or construction of the terms of the trust;

2. The approval of a trustee's report or accounting;

3. Direction to a trustee to refrain from performing a particular act or the grant to a trustee of any necessary or desirable power;

4. The resignation or appointment of a trustee and the determination of a trustee's compensation;

5. Transfer of a trust's principal place of administration; and

6. Liability of a trustee for an action relating to the trust.

E. Any interested person may petition the court to approve a nonjudicial settlement agreement, to determine whether the representation as provided in Article 3 (§ 64.2-714 et seq.) was adequate, and to determine whether the agreement contains terms and conditions the court could have properly approved.

2005, c. 935, § 55-541.11; 2012, c. 614.