Wills, Trusts, and Estates

J. William Gray, Jr.*
Katherine E. Ramsey**

Although meeting in short session, the 2013 Virginia General Assembly produced an unusually large number of new laws affecting wills, trusts, and estates. Among the nine legislative enactments were those that (1) enabled a real property owner to designate in a revocable deed those who will take the property upon the owner’s death, (2) authorized members of a Virginia limited liability company to permit the transfer of both their economic interests and their management interests in the company when assigning membership, (3) imposed possible criminal penalties on anyone who financially exploits a mentally incapacitated person, (4) confirmed and clarified the effect of Virginia’s statutory exception to the Rule Against Perpetuities for personal property, (5) expanded the category of trustees whose discretionary distribution powers are limited to an ascertainable standard by default, (6) permitted the personal representative of a deceased minor child to access the child’s online accounts, and (7) required anyone seeking court permission to exhume a dead body in order to establish inheritance rights to first cite sufficient facts to establish a reasonable possibility that the claimed biological relationship exists. In addition, June 1, 2013 marked the end of a twelve-month period during which the Supreme Court of Virginia issued five noteworthy opinions. The Supreme Court of the United States rounded out a busy year in the field with an opinion on June 3, 2013.

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* Partner, Hunton & Williams LLP, Richmond, Virginia. J.D., 1977, University of Virginia; B.S.I.E., B.A., 1973, Rutgers University.
** Partner, Hunton & Williams LLP, Richmond, Virginia. J.D., 1998, University of Virginia; M.S., 1988, Boston University; B.A., 1986, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.