Glen Allen, VA asked in Probate for Virginia

Q: In reference to Section 64.2-400 of the Code of Virginia, is it necessary to specifically state the document or list?

In my father's will he has written, verbatum; "Pursuant to Section 64.2-400 of the Code of Virginia, as amended, I may leave a signed writing indicating certain specific bequests or certain items of my tangible personal property that I direct to be distributed to the persons specified therein. Gifts of specific items of property mentioned in this Will or in any separate writing that is binding upon my Executor shall fail to the extent that I, or and duly authorized agent of mine, dispose of such property prior to my death. My Executor shall not substitute cash or any other assets for such property." However, his Will doesn't list any such writings, lists or documents that would bequeath any items. His Will also has no section, directing the distribution of any gifts or bequests. His wife is trying to say that he didn't leave me anything and that I have no claim to any of his possessions, or that he "left those to someone else", and I don't know what to do.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr.
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Glen Allen, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Virginia Code Section 64.2-400 refers to a separate list of bequests that will be treated as if they were set forth in the will. The separate writing need not qualify as a will itself. This way, the testator may draw up and change a list that should be honored by the executor or personal representative of the estate. Often, these lists are handwritten. Your question reveals one of the problems with this section, the list may be lost, forgotten, or destroyed.

Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer

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