Reidsville, NC asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Virginia

Q: What is the inheritance order in Virginia when there is no will?

My mother inherited two vacant lots when a friend passed away. They were sold recently in a tax sale. A lady from a Recovery company contacted me saying that they would get a third , I would get a third and my nephew's would get a third to split three ways from the tax sale. Now my mother passed in 2010, my father in 2011 and my brother in 1988 and none of them had a will at the time of their passing. I thought that as sole survivor of my parents and out living my brother I would be the only heir. Am I wrong? I have to admit this is sounding like a scam as I was asked to provide a copy of my driver's license along with some papers to be signed and notorized then returned. Just not sure about this deal.

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

A: If a Virginia resident dies intestate, without a will, the state essentially writes a will for that person - the law of intestate succession. Virginia's law of intestate succession appears in Chapter 2 of Title 64.2 of the Code of Virginia, specifically Sections 200 and 201 describe the course of descents. As the course of descents depends on a number of factors, and can follow a course down (descendants), up (ancestors) and to the side (collaterals such as brothers and sisters or by marriage, spouses), it is important to consult with an experienced Virginia probate lawyer. Even probate lawyers are sometimes compelled to create a diagram of the family tree to figure out the course of descents of an intestate decedent.

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