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The 2020 Virginia General Assembly addressed a wide variety of matters affecting wills, trusts, and estates, ranging from a new article of the Virginia Uniform Trust Code and an expanded partition procedure to a $2 increase in the circuit court clerk’s recordation fees. Among the most helpful were new rules that clarify and expand the powers and responsibilities of non-trustees who may direct the trustee on certain issues and a revised procedure for partitioning real property while protecting the rights and interests of co-owners. The legislature also dealt with fiduciary issues, including express authorization for multiple-party bank accounts, additional duties for children’s guardians ad litem, relationships that may disqualify a lawyer as guardian or conservator, protections against suspected financial abuse of adults, reliance on qualification certificates, and requirements for certain fiduciaries’ accounts. The General Assembly also authorized beneficiary designations for ABLE savings accounts, allowed the substitution of a bank for a related trust company in multiple fiduciary roles, broadened disclosure rules for certain gifts to state colleges and universities, expanded the list of documents a notary may accept as identification, and allowed transfer on death (“T.O.D.”) designations for motor vehicles with multiple owners.
J. William Gray, Jr. *
Katherine E. Ramsey **
* Senior Counsel, Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLP, Richmond, Virginia. J.D., 1977, University of Virginia; B.S.I.E., B.A., 1973, Rutgers University.
** Member, 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.