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Questions Answered by James H. Wilson Jr.
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: What happens when a life insurance policy says to the estatee? Does it spilt between all children

My mother died and had three life insurance policy’s. I was the sole beneficiary for all but one. The last one states it goes to the estatee, nobody was named. Who will that policy go to? Will it split between all children or will we have to go to court for one person to get it?

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Jun 3, 2022

A life insurance policy payable to the estate should be deposited in the estate account. The personal representative of the estate should have opened an estate bank account and obtained a taxpayer identification number for the estate. The personal representative must qualify through an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: Can I legally get power of attorney over my mother, even though she is still married?

My mother has dementia, and she just married the wrong person. This man has decided to give up, moved me in with them to take care of her, told me he's not spending any more money and that I need to get a power of attorney over her.

One would think that would be his responsibility. Am... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Jun 2, 2022

A principal must have the capacity to contract to give a power to an attorney-in-fact. That generally requires understand the nature and consequences of the legal act. If a principal lacks capacity or is incompetent, the proper arrangement is to have a guardian or conservator appointed for the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: Are children entitled to anything after a parent dies, but leaves a spouse?

My father died without a WILL and his wife asked me and 5 other siblings to just sign a document that would release any assets that he may have had. She indicated that the document didn't have anything to do with us. When we asked to see what items we were waiving, she said that it didn't... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on May 20, 2022

Children of a decedent, who are not children of the surviving spouse, share 2/3rds of the intestate decedent's estate with the surviving spouse, who is entitled to 1/3 of the estate. There are also various statutory allowances and exemptions available to a surviving spouse and to any minor... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: How do I start divorce proceedings while married, living together, with minor children when the spouse refuses to leave

I want to divorce my husband. He refuses to establish a separation date, so I can’t do a no fault divorce. We live in my fathers house, it’s paid off, and will come to me upon his death through inheritance. There is no established rental agreement. I believe my husbands plan is to wait until he... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on May 5, 2022

A Virginia resident can file for a divorce from bed and board immediately, based on either abandonment and desertion or cruelty and reasonable apprehension of bodily harm. Virginia recognizes contructive desertion, which is essentially a desertion of the marital relationship while the parties... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: My spouse&I live in a house owned by my dad. I will inherit when he passes. Would it become a marital asset in divorce?
James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on May 5, 2022

Property that is acquired by gift or inheritance during a marriage in Virginia starts as separate property in equitable distribution. This is an exception to the general rule that property acquired during the marriage and before the last date of separation is presumed to be marital property, no... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Q: VA- Joint custody -required to discuss decisions and parents disagree on child getting driver's permit.

Custody papers only say we must discuss important decisions but does not specify what constitutes important and what happens when we don't agree.

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on May 4, 2022

A decision to allow a child to get a learner's permit involves legal custody. For true joint legal custody, there would be a greater burden than simply imposing an obligation to discuss decisions: the parties would have to agree on legal decisions concerning the child. Sometimes, judges... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Tax Law for Virginia on
Q: In Virginia I have been separated 3 years but no legal separation exists in state. Can we file single/head of household

We have 3 kids and agree to swap every other year 2 kids one parent and the other parent with the third child. Separated 3 years living in different homes. Virginia law does not recognize legal separation while federal tax law would consider us unmarried. Can we each file head of house some how

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Apr 13, 2022

The Virginia Court of Appeals has recognized a divorce from bed and board as a legal separation, so Virginia does have a legal separation. This is an intermediate form of divorce based on fault grounds only, that does not allow one to remarry, but recognizes you are no longer sharing the same bed... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Q: How do I find a psych evaluator to provide expert testimony in court that my ex-wife is alienating me from my kids?

I'm in Northern VA, it's been a challenge to find someone who can competently evaluate parental alienation.

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Apr 11, 2022

That is called a custody evaluation. Child psychologists who offer those usually advertise themselves as custody evaluators and expert witnesses. In the Richmond area, there a few who do most of them. When I have called some that are not available, they will usually recommend others who might be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Virginia on
Q: What to do when you know that your ex-wife is breaking a court order by leaving the state with the kids every weekend?

Not only is she leaving the state, but she drops the kids off with her boyfriend for him to watch for the weekend. She then returns to the state of VA to go to work for the weekend. Should I get an ex parte request (if I have strong evidence), emergency order, or call for a child welfare check when... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Apr 10, 2022

Court orders in Virginia are enforced through a contempt proceeding. After reopening the case, the proceeding is initiated with the filing of a verified petition describing the violation of the court order, along with a rule to show cause. If the judge finds the grounds sufficient, he or she will... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: Is there any way that I can legally evict my husband? Do I have to let him drive the car that's in my name?

He has been in jail for a week and a half and is trying to come back here and I don't want him here. I don't know when he is getting out because he is waiting for a bond hearing. He has not recently threatened me for me to get a protective order. I plan on filing for separation next... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Mar 30, 2022

I have had clients change the locks after a spouse leaves the marital residence with the intention of deserting and abandoning the marital relationship. The other spouse usually complains but relents. Either spouse can file for divorce and request exclusive possession of the marital residence for... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Family Law and Antitrust for Virginia on
Q: Trustee of my Grandfathers will is dodging paying anything out of account to those entitled to its benefits. help

My grandfather setup a trust within his will that will pay for my college courses/apartment while im enrolled at an university. I have been trying to get him to follow through and help me get money from this account. In the 5 emails I have with him it feels like i have been negotiating to get what... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Mar 30, 2022

The answer to your question depends on the provisions of the testamentary trust. These trusts sometimes are set up as spendthrift or discretionary trusts. This gives the trustee the right to make disbursements purely at his or her discretion, in order to protect the corpus of the trust from... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: Where does the money go in a chapter 13 that creditors do not get but you listed them when you started it says they

Get 0.00$ but you have still been paying that every month where does that money go it was calculated up when you first start

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Mar 22, 2022

If you have a bankruptcy attorney, you really should discuss this with your attorney. If you do not, the chapter 13 trustees in the EDVA Richmond Division publish individual chapter 13 case information on their websites at www.ndc13.com or www.13datacenter.com, so you can see what you have paid... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Virginia on
Q: I am the trustee of mother’s estate & beneficiary of her house. Upon death, can I transfer it to my son directly?

She has dementia. I want my son to have the house instead of me. Would he be able to inherit it at the stepped up value?

I was hoping I could just change the title from my mother’s name to his.

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Mar 2, 2022

The phrasing of your question is a bit confusing. An estate does not usually have a trustee, the personal representative of an estate is either an executor or an administrator. It is possible for a pour over will to automatically transfer assets into an existing trust, such that the trustee of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for Virginia on
Q: If a divorce decree says property will be left to someone can a will be made after and the property left to someone else

Will the divorce decree outweigh the will since it was agreed to before and a judge signed off on it? A house is supposed to be left to the children. Can a will be made and the house left to someone else even though the divorce decree specifically says it will go to the children? A threat has been... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Feb 16, 2022

A judge's authority in equitable distribution in Virginia is strictly statutory and must be based on the provisions of Virginia Code Section 20-107.3. The judge has no authority to order property to be conveyed to someone other than a spouse.

Any provision beyond the authority of...
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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce for Virginia on
Q: My parents have been seperated for 40+ years. My father has become ill and I wanted to know how to get them divorced

My mother has not been around my entire life and claimed she has remarried but I dont know how if she still is married legally to my father. I just want them divorced in case my father passes I dont want her entitled to any of my father's assets

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Jan 20, 2022

If a married person marries another person not his or her spouse, the marriage is void as bigamous. This means the original marriage is still valid. Under Virginia Code Section 64.2-308, a spouse who willfully deserts and abandons his or her spouse loses all statutory rights. If you suspect his... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for Virginia on
Q: If a minor child turns 18 at 8 months into the year-long separation period, can we file for divorce right then?

Assume asset/property division has been agreed upon. Just waiting for the year to be up.

James H. Wilson Jr.
PREMIUM
James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Jan 18, 2022

The separation period for a no fault divorce in Virginia is 1 year. If the parties have no minor children born or adopted of the marriage, and have signed a written separation agreement, the required separation period is only 6 months. The intention to separate permanently must exist continuously... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce for Virginia on
Q: My husband inherited a house from his mother. He added my name to the deed. We are now going to get a divorce.

Do I have a claim to the house

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Dec 27, 2021

Property received by gift or inheritance during the marriage start as separate property. Separate property may be transmuted into marital property by certain actions that cause it to lose its character as separate property, such as the commingling of funds. Property may also be classified as... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: I am an international student in USA. I am going to marry second wife. Can this happend?
James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Dec 22, 2021

It depends where it happens and where you reside. In general, under principles of comity, Virginia recognizes a marriage as valid if it was valid in the place where celebrated, unless it offends the strong public policy of the Commonwealth. In Virginia, a bigamous marriage is void. Bigamy is a... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: My mother lives in Newport News VA. She wants to leave me her house that still has a mortgage. What is the best way
James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Dec 17, 2021

I agree with my esteemed colleague and would add, in addition to a will or a trust, a Transfer on Death Deed as another way to accomplish this. The house may also pass by intestate succession if you are her sole heir at law, and only a real estate affidavit may be required after death to give... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Virginia on
Q: Can grandparents who have never had a relationship with their grandchild of a single parent get awarded visitation?

I cut off all contact with my toxic and mentally ill parents several years ago, but they have continued to stalk me. I am concerned about them possibly suing for visitation once they find out they have a grandchild.

What are the chances that the family court would force me to allow them to... Read more »

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Dec 13, 2021

In Virginia, grandparents have no custody and visitation rights by virtue of the familial relationship. Grandparents are among the class of interested persons who can ask for a custody or visitation determination, but will not obtain any rights against the wishes of a biological parent who has not... Read more »

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