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Fairfax, VA Probate Blog

Monday, February 23, 2015

Will Construction: Specific Exceptions to Adeemed Property in Virginia

Every Executor of a probate estate has to review each Will’s specific bequest and devise carefully. Does the asset specifically bequeathed still exist in the estate as described in the Will?

If not, the property may, to a certain extent, be construed by the Court to be in existence and the Executor may be required to make a distribution the Executor mistakenly believed is no longer enforceable. And Executor should never assume the property has been Adeemed or else the Executor may be liable.


Unless a contrary intention appears in the will:

Bequest of Specific Securities
A bequest of specific securities, whether or not expressed in number of shares, shall include as much of the bequeathed securities as is part of the estate at the time of the testator's death, any additional or other securities of the same entity owned by the testator by reason of action initiated by the entity, excluding any securities acquired by the exercise of purchase options, and any securities of another entity acquired with respect to the specific securities mentioned in the bequest as a result of a merger, consolidation, reorganization, or other similar action initiated by the entity;

Property Subsequently Condemned
A bequest or devise of specific property shall include the amount of any condemnation award for the taking of the property which remains unpaid at death and any proceeds unpaid at death on fire and casualty insurance on the property; and

Property Disposed of When the Decedent Incapacitated
A bequest or devise of specific property shall, in addition to such property that remains part of the estate of the testator, be deemed to be a bequest of a pecuniary amount if such specific property, during the life of the testator and while he is under a disability, was sold by a conservator, guardian, or committee for the testator, or if proceeds of fire or casualty insurance as to such property are paid to the conservator, guardian, or committee for the testator. For purposes of this subdivision, the pecuniary amount shall be the net sale price or insurance proceeds, reduced by the sums received under subdivision 2. This subdivision shall not apply if, after the sale or casualty, it is adjudicated that the disability of the testator had ceased and the testator survived the adjudication by one year.

Property Disposed of by a Attorney in Fact Under a Power of Attorney
Unless a contrary intention appears in a testator's will or durable power of attorney, a bequest or devise of specific property shall, in addition to such property that remains part of the estate of the testator, be deemed to be a bequest of a pecuniary amount if such specific property, during the life of the testator and while he is incapacitated, was sold by an agent acting within the authority of a durable power of attorney for the testator, or if proceeds of fire or casualty insurance as to such property are paid to the agent. For purposes of this subsection, (i) the pecuniary amount shall be the net sale price or insurance proceeds, reduced by the sums received under subdivision B 2, (ii) no adjudication of the testator's incapacity before death is necessary, and (iii) the acts of an agent within the authority of a durable power of attorney are rebuttably presumed to be for an incapacitated testator. This subsection shall not apply (a) if the agent's sale of the specific property or receipt of the insurance proceeds is thereafter ratified by the testator or (b) to a power of attorney limited to one or more specific purposes.

Leasehold & Freehold Estates
Unless a contrary intention appears in the will, a devise that would describe a leasehold estate, if the testator had no freehold estate that could be described by the devise, shall be construed to include such a leasehold estate.

Note: ”Incapacitated" means impairment by reason of mental illness, intellectual disability, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, or other cause to the extent of lacking sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions.



The Lenzi Law Firm, PLLC assists clients throughout Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. including Fort Washington, Falls Church, Ft. Myer, Vienna, Rosslyn, Springfield, Mount Vernon, Annandale, Fort Belvoir, Fairfax, Dunn Loring, Merrifield, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Burke, Great Falls, Fredericksburg, Stafford and Herndon in Arlington County, Alexandria County, & Fairfax County.



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