J. William Gray, Jr. *
Katherine E. Ramsey **
The Supreme Court of Virginia has handed down seven recent decisions addressing the authority of an agent to change the principal’s estate plan, legal malpractice claims in estate planning, rights of incapacitated adults, limits of the constructive trust doctrine, effects of a reversionary clause in a deed, ownership of an engagement ring, and proof of undue influence. The 2017 Virginia General Assembly clarified rules on legal malpractice and tenancies by the entireties, adopted the Uniform Trust Decanting Act and the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, and expanded provisions governing estate administration, life insurance, and advance medical directives. Other legislation affecting wills, trusts, and estates included clarifications and technical corrections relating to augmented estate claims, non-exoneration of encumbered property, administration procedures, life insurance, adult financial exploitation, death certificate amendments, and spousal exemptions from real estate tax.
* Partner, McGuireWoods LLP, Richmond, Virginia. J.D., 1977, University of Virginia; B.S.I.E., B.A., 1973, Rutgers University.
** Partner, Virginia Estate & Trust Law PLC, Richmond, Virginia. J.D., 1998, University of Virginia; M.S., 1988, Boston University; B.A., 1986, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.