Wills, Trusts & Estates Section
It is my pleasure, as Chair of The Virginia Bar Association's
Wills, Trusts & Estates Section
, to introduce you to our approach to service to the Bar and to the practitioners of our commonwealth.
Unlike other Sections of the VBA, the WT&E Section deals with the one event that will befall every citizen of the commonwealth - death. The orderly process for the transfer of wealth after death demands that members of the WT&E Section employ their practical experience to shape the laws that guide us, the courts and the residents of Virginia.
Traditionally, our Section has been responsible for the passage of more legislation in the Virginia General Assembly than any other section of the VBA.
The Wills, Trusts & Estates Section has been active in recent years in the passage of important legislation affecting estate planning and estate and trust administration in Virginia. Our involvement in proposing new legislation or amending existing laws has been the strength of the WT&E for many years. It is the primary reason why I joined and became involved.
In recent years, the WT&E Legislative Committee has proposed or supported:
- Adoption of the Uniform Trust Decanting Statute
- Overhaul of the Elective Share (Augmented Estate) laws
- Adoption of the Uniform Power of Appointment Act
- The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act
- Passage of "Anti-Thorsen" legislation restricting actions by third parties against estate planning attorneys
Immediately after each legislative session, the Wills, Trusts & Estates Section distributes to its members a summary of action taken by the legislature that pertains to trusts and estates.
Our 2017-2018 legislative agenda will focus on minimizing the statutory differences and inconsistencies between wills and trusts; examining the use of "no contest" provisions in light of the Virginia Supreme Court's
decision; review of proposed legislation regarding "electronic wills"; and the amendment of the "self-settled trust" statutes to permit professional corporations to serve as fiduciaries.
Several articles, penned by members of the WT&E Section, have appeared in recent issues of the
, spotlighting recent legislative changes in
Powers of Appointment
The Section recently completed a new edition of its popular handbook for laypeople,
"A Guide to the Administration of Decedents' Estates in Virginia."
Both an indexed PDF version and an online version of the 48-page guide are available.
The WT&E Section collaborates with the Virginia Law Foundation to produce the
Douglas W. Conner Advanced Estate Planning Conference
, this year being held in Williamsburg, Virginia, on May 5-7. The highly regarded conference presents speakers of national and local prominence on the various issues that we as planners or administrators encounter. In addition, CLE programs at the summer and winter VBA meetings touch on topics of interest to planners and general practitioners alike.
This collegial group is also an excellent resource for insights on the unusual or downright confusing laws and statutes affecting estate planning or administration. If you have written a will, or sometime in your career will write a will, trust or a power of attorney, you need to be a member of the WT&E Section.
John T. Midgett, Chair