Code of Virginia

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

Article 4. Creation, Validity, Modification, and Termination of Trust.

§ 64.2-719. Methods of creating trust.

A. A trust may be created by:

1. Transfer of property to another person as trustee during the settlor's lifetime by the settlor or by the settlor's agent, acting in accordance with § 64.2-1612, under a power of attorney that expressly authorizes the agent to create a trust on the settlor's behalf or by will or other disposition taking effect upon the settlor's death;

2. Declaration by the owner of property that the owner holds identifiable property as trustee;

3. Exercise of a power of appointment in favor of a trustee; or

4. A conservator acting in accordance with § 64.2-2023.

B. A circuit court, upon petition from an interested party, may create and establish a trust with such trustee and such terms as the court determines. In an order creating and establishing the trust, the court shall determine whether the trustee shall have a duty to qualify in the clerk's office; post bond, with or without surety; or file an inventory and annual accounting with the commissioner of accounts as would apply to a testamentary trustee.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.01; 2010, cc. 455, 632; 2012, c. 614; 2013, c. 523; 2016, c. 186.

§ 64.2-720. Requirements for creation.

A. A trust is created only if:

1. The settlor has capacity to create a trust; or when the trust is created by the settlor's agent under a power of attorney, which expressly authorizes the agent to create a trust on the settlor's behalf;

2. The settlor or his agent indicates an intention to create the trust;

3. The trust has a definite beneficiary or is:

a. A charitable trust;

b. A trust for the care of an animal, as provided in § 64.2-726; or

c. A trust for a noncharitable purpose, as provided in § 64.2-727;

4. The trustee has duties to perform; and

5. The same person is not the sole trustee and sole beneficiary.

B. A beneficiary is definite if the beneficiary can be ascertained now or in the future, subject to any applicable rule against perpetuities.

C. A power in a trustee to select a beneficiary from an indefinite class is valid. If the power is not exercised within a reasonable time, the power fails and the property subject to the power passes to the persons who would have taken the property had the power not been conferred.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.02; 2010, cc. 455, 632; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-721. Trusts created in other jurisdictions.

A trust not created by will is validly created if its creation complies with the law of the jurisdiction in which the trust instrument was executed, or the law of the jurisdiction in which, at the time of creation:

1. The settlor was domiciled, had a place of abode, or was a national;

2. A trustee was domiciled or had a place of business; or

3. Any trust property was located.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.03; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-722. Trust purposes.

A trust may be created only to the extent its purposes are lawful, not contrary to public policy, and possible to achieve. A trust and its terms shall be for the benefit of its beneficiaries.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.04; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-723. Charitable purposes; enforcement.

A. A charitable trust may be created for the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, the promotion of health, governmental or municipal purposes, or other purposes the achievement of which is beneficial to the community.

B. If the terms of a charitable trust do not indicate a particular charitable purpose or beneficiary, the court may select one or more charitable purposes or beneficiaries. The selection shall be consistent with the settlor's intention to the extent it can be ascertained.

C. The settlor of a charitable trust, among others, may maintain a proceeding to enforce the trust.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.05; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-724. Creation of trust induced by fraud, duress, or undue influence.

A trust is void to the extent its creation was induced by fraud, duress, or undue influence.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.06; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-725. Evidence of oral trust.

Except as required by a statute other than this chapter, a trust need not be evidenced by a trust instrument, but the creation of an oral trust and its terms may be established only by clear and convincing evidence.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.07; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-726. Trust for care of animal.

A. A trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor's lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor's lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal. Funds from the trust may be applied to any outstanding expenses of the trust and for burial or other postdeath expenditures for animal beneficiaries as provided for in the instrument creating the trust.

B. The instrument creating the trust shall be liberally construed to bring the transfer within the scope of trusts governed by this section, to presume against the merely precatory or honorary nature of the disposition, and to carry out the general intent of the transferor. Extrinsic evidence is admissible in determining the transferor's intent.

C. A trust authorized by this section may be enforced by a person appointed in the terms of the trust or, if no person is so appointed, by a person appointed by the court. A person having an interest in the welfare of the animal may request the court to appoint a person to enforce the trust or to remove a person appointed. The appointed person shall have the rights of a trust beneficiary for the purpose of enforcing the trust, including receiving accountings, notices, and other information from the trustee and providing consents. Reasonable compensation for a person appointed by the court may be paid from the assets of the trust.

D. Except as ordered by a court or required by the trust instrument, no filing, report, registration, periodic accounting, separate maintenance of funds, appointment, or surety bond shall be required by reason of the existence of the fiduciary relationship of the trustee.

E. Property of a trust authorized by this section may be applied only to its intended use, except to the extent the court determines that the value of the trust property exceeds the amount required for the intended use. Except as otherwise provided in the terms of the trust, property not required for the intended use shall be distributed to the settlor, if then living. If the settlor is deceased, such property shall be distributed pursuant to the residuary clause of the settlor's will if the trust for the animal was created in a preresiduary clause in the will or pursuant to the residuary provisions of the inter vivos trust if the trust for the animal was created in a preresiduary clause in the trust instrument; otherwise, such property shall be distributed to the settlor's successors in interest.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.08; 2006, c. 666. 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-727. Noncharitable trust without ascertainable beneficiary.

Except as otherwise provided in § 64.2-726 or by another statute, the following rules apply:

1. A trust may be created for a noncharitable purpose without a definite or definitely ascertainable beneficiary or for a noncharitable but otherwise valid purpose to be selected by the trustee. The trust may not be enforced for more than 21 years.

2. A trust authorized by this section may be enforced by a person appointed in the terms of the trust or, if no person is so appointed, by a person appointed by the court.

3. Property of a trust authorized by this section may be applied only to its intended use, except to the extent the court determines that the value of the trust property exceeds the amount required for the intended use. Except as otherwise provided in the terms of the trust, property not required for the intended use shall be distributed to the settlor, if then living, otherwise to the settlor's successors in interest.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.09; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-728. Modification or termination of trust; proceedings for approval or disapproval.

A. In addition to the methods of termination prescribed by §§ 64.2-729 through 64.2-732, a trust terminates to the extent the trust is revoked or expires pursuant to its terms, no purpose of the trust remains to be achieved, or the purposes of the trust have become unlawful, contrary to public policy, or impossible to achieve.

B. A proceeding to approve or disapprove a proposed modification or termination under §§ 64.2-729 through 64.2-734, or trust combination or division under § 64.2-735, may be commenced by a trustee or beneficiary. The settlor of a charitable trust may maintain a proceeding to modify the trust under § 64.2-731.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.10; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-729. Modification or termination of noncharitable irrevocable trust by consent.

A. If upon petition the court finds that the settlor and all beneficiaries consent to the modification or termination of a noncharitable irrevocable trust, the court shall enter an order approving the modification or termination even if the modification or termination is inconsistent with a material purpose of the trust. A settlor's power to consent to a trust's modification or termination may be exercised by an agent under a power of attorney only to the extent expressly authorized by the power of attorney or the terms of the trust; by the settlor's conservator with the approval of the court supervising the conservatorship if an agent is not so authorized; or by the settlor's guardian with the approval of the court supervising the guardianship if an agent is not so authorized and a conservator has not been appointed.

B. A noncharitable irrevocable trust may be terminated upon consent of all of the beneficiaries if the court concludes that continuance of the trust is not necessary to achieve any material purpose of the trust. A noncharitable irrevocable trust may be modified upon consent of all of the beneficiaries if the court concludes that modification is not inconsistent with a material purpose of the trust.

C. Upon termination of a trust under subsection A or B, the trustee shall distribute the trust property as agreed by the beneficiaries.

D. If not all of the beneficiaries consent to a proposed modification or termination of the trust under subsection A or B, the modification or termination may be approved by the court if the court is satisfied that:

1. If all of the beneficiaries had consented, the trust could have been modified or terminated under this section; and

2. The interests of a beneficiary who does not consent will be adequately protected.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.11; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-730. Modification or termination because of unanticipated circumstances or inability to administer trust effectively.

A. The court may modify the administrative or dispositive terms of a trust or terminate the trust if, because of circumstances not anticipated by the settlor, modification or termination will further the purposes of the trust. To the extent practicable, the modification shall be made in accordance with the settlor's probable intention.

B. The court may modify the administrative terms of a trust if continuation of the trust on its existing terms would be impracticable or wasteful or impair the trust's administration.

C. Upon termination of a trust under this section, the trustee shall distribute the trust property in a manner consistent with the purposes of the trust.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.12; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-731. Cy pres.

A. Except as otherwise provided in subsection B, if a particular charitable purpose becomes unlawful, impracticable, impossible to achieve, or wasteful:

1. The trust does not fail, in whole or in part;

2. The trust property does not revert to the settlor or the settlor's successors in interest; and

3. The court may apply cy pres to modify or terminate the trust by directing that the trust property be applied or distributed, in whole or in part, in a manner consistent with the settlor's charitable purposes.

B. A provision in the terms of a charitable trust that would result in distribution of the trust property to a noncharitable beneficiary prevails over the power of the court under subsection A to apply cy pres to modify or terminate the trust only if, when the provision takes effect:

1. The trust property is to revert to the settlor and the settlor is still living; or

2. Fewer than 21 years have elapsed since the date of the trust's creation.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.13; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-732. Modification or termination of uneconomic trust.

A. After notice to the qualified beneficiaries, the trustee of a trust consisting of trust property having a total value less than $100,000 may terminate the trust if the trustee concludes that the value of the trust property is insufficient to justify the cost of administration.

B. The court may modify or terminate a trust or remove the trustee and appoint a different trustee if it determines that the value of the trust property is insufficient to justify the cost of administration.

C. Upon termination of a trust under this section, the trustee shall distribute the trust property in a manner consistent with the purposes of the trust.

D. This section does not apply to an easement for conservation or preservation.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.14; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-733. Reformation to correct mistakes.

The court may reform the terms of a trust, even if unambiguous, to conform the terms to the settlor's intention if it is proved by clear and convincing evidence that both the settlor's intent and the terms of the trust were affected by a mistake of fact or law, whether in expression or inducement.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.15; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-734. Modification to achieve settlor's tax objectives.

To achieve the settlor's tax objectives, the court may modify the terms of a trust in a manner that is not contrary to the settlor's probable intention. The court may provide that the modification has retroactive effect.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.16; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-735. Combination and division of trusts.

After notice to the qualified beneficiaries, a trustee may combine two or more trusts into a single trust or divide a trust into two or more separate trusts, if the result does not materially impair the rights of any beneficiary or adversely affect achievement of the purposes of the trust.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.17; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-736. Amendment of trust where gift, grant, or will establishes private foundation or constitutes a charitable trust or a split-interest trust.

When any such gift, grant, devise, or bequest establishes a private foundation, as defined in § 509 of the Internal Revenue Code, or constitutes a charitable trust, as described in § 4947(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, or a split-interest trust, as described in § 4947(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, the trustee or trustees of such trust, with the concurrence of the creator of the trust, if then living and able to give such consent, and the Attorney General, may, without resort to any court, unless such amendment is inconsistent with an express provision of such trust's governing instrument, amend the terms of such trust to bring such trust into or continue such trust in conformity with requirements for exemption of such trust, or any interest therein, from federal taxes. When such gift, grant, or will is recorded, a copy of such amendment shall be similarly recorded.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.18; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-737. Distribution of income of trust that is a private foundation or a charitable trust; prohibitions as to such private foundation.

Every trust that is a private foundation, as defined in § 509 of the Internal Revenue Code, or a charitable trust, as described in § 4947(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, unless its governing instrument expressly includes specific provisions to the contrary, shall distribute its income, and if necessary principal, for each taxable year at such time and in such manner as not to subject such trust to tax under § 4942 of the Internal Revenue Code, and such trust shall not engage in any act of self-dealing, as defined in § 4941(d) of the Internal Revenue Code, retain any excess business holdings, as defined in § 4943(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, make any investments in such manner as to give rise to liability for the tax imposed by § 4944 of the Internal Revenue Code, or make any taxable expenditures, as defined in § 4945(d) of the Internal Revenue Code.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.19; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-738. Prohibitions as to trust that is deemed a split-interest trust.

Every trust that is a split-interest trust, as described in § 4947(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, unless its governing instrument expressly includes specific provisions to the contrary, shall not engage in any act of self-dealing, as defined in § 4941(d) of the Internal Revenue Code, retain any excess business holdings, as defined in § 4943(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, that would give rise to liability for the tax imposed by § 4943(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, make any investments in such manner as to give rise to liability for the tax imposed by § 4944 of the Internal Revenue Code, or make any taxable expenditures, as defined in § 4945(d) of the Internal Revenue Code. This section shall not apply with respect to:

1. Any amounts payable under the terms of such trust to income beneficiaries, unless a deduction was allowed under § 170(f)(2)(B), 2055(e)(2)(B), or 2522(c)(2)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code;

2. Any amounts in trust other than amounts for which a deduction was allowed under § 170, 545(b)(2), 556(b)(2), 642(c), 2055, 2106(a)(2), or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code, if such other amounts are segregated from amounts for which no deduction was allowable; or

3. Any amounts transferred in trust before May 27, 1969.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.20; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-739. Application of §§ 64.2-737 and 64.2-738.

Sections 64.2-737 and 64.2-738 shall apply to any private foundation, charitable trust, or split-interest trust defined or described therein and established after December 31, 1969; and to any such private foundation, charitable trust, or split-interest trust established before January 1, 1970, only for its taxable years beginning on and after January 1, 1972, unless the exceptions provided in § 508(e)(2)(A) or (B) of the Internal Revenue Code shall apply or unless the trustee or trustees shall elect that this section shall not apply by filing written notice of such election with the Attorney General, and with the clerk of the court in which its governing instrument may be recorded, on or before December 31, 1971.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.21; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-740. Interpretation of references to Internal Revenue Code in §§ 64.2-736 through 64.2-739.

Each reference to a section of the Internal Revenue Code made in §§ 64.2-736 through 64.2-739 shall include future amendments to such Code sections and corresponding provisions of future internal revenue laws.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.22; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-741. Powers of courts not impaired by §§ 64.2-736 through 64.2-740.

Nothing in §§ 64.2-736 through 64.2-740 shall impair the power of a court of competent jurisdiction with respect to any such foundation or trust.

2005, c. 935, § 55-544.23; 2012, c. 614; 2015, c. 709.