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Spousal & Family Rights
Exempt Property

Virginia Estate Law - Spousal & Family Rights

Family Allowance
Exempt Property
Homestead Exemption
Elective Share
Augmented Estate
Omitted Spouse
Family Residence
Statutory Bar to Estate Rights

In addition to the family allowance, the surviving spouse of a decedent domiciled in Virginia is entitled to receive from the estate up to $15,000 of the value in excess of any security interests (liens for loans, etc.) in household furniture, automobiles, furnishings, appliances and personal effects.

If the property selected as exempt property does not have a value of $15,000 in excess of security interests, when added to other exempt property claimed, then the spouse may select others assets (not limited to the types of assets described above) of the estate to the extent necessary to make up the difference.

If the decedent is not survived by a spouse, but has surviving minor children, the decedent's minor children are entitled to equal shares of the same value.

The right to exempt property, including other assets to make up a deficiency of exempt property, has priority over all claims against the estate, but not over the family allowance.

Like the family allowance, the right to exempt property is in addition to any benefit or share passing to the surviving spouse or minor children by the will of the decedent, by intestate succession, or by way of elective share.

In the case of a relatively small estate, where there may be unknown creditor claims, it may be worth considering whether the spouse and/or minor children should make claims for the benefits discussed in this chapter in order to foreclose possible future claims against assets received by the spouse and/or children.

Homestead Exemption>>>

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