Virginia Inheritance Law for Siblings

By Heather Frances J.D.

If your brother or sister dies owning property in Virginia, your sibling’s will and Virginia law determine whether you inherit anything from the estate. If he left a valid will naming you as a beneficiary, you are eligible to inherit as his will directs, after his creditors are paid. If he didn’t leave a valid will, you may inherit under certain circumstances.

Inheritance by Will

You can inherit under the terms of your sibling’s will, provided the will is valid under Virginia law. The will’s validity is officially determined when the will is submitted to the probate court, but the requirements are fairly simple. The will must be in writing and signed by your deceased sibling, usually in the presence of two witnesses who must also sign the will. Your deceased sibling and the witnesses must have been competent at the time they signed the will, so if your sibling was mentally incapacitated when he signed the will, it will not be considered valid.

Surviving Spouse

In Virginia, a decedent cannot entirely disinherit his surviving spouse, even if he leaves a will attempting to do so. This spousal share, called an elective share, is one third of the estate if your sibling had children or one half of his estate if he had no descendants. If your sibling tried to disinherit his spouse by leaving his estate to his brothers and sisters, your shares will be reduced by his spouse’s elective share. If your sibling did not leave a will, his surviving spouse inherits an elective share and the rest of his estate passes under Virginia’s laws of intestate succession, which kick in when a resident dies without a valid will.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Intestate Succession

Virginia’s intestate succession laws are default rules that determine how a decedent’s estate passes when he dies without a valid will. In Virginia, a decedent’s estate passes to his surviving spouse, children or parents before passing to his siblings. If your sibling left a surviving spouse but no descendants, his spouse inherits everything. If he had descendants, his spouse and descendants share his estate. If he had no surviving spouse, his descendants inherit everything. Finally, if he left neither spouse nor descendants, his parents inherit everything. Only after those relatives are ruled out can siblings inherit without a will.

Nieces and Nephews

If your sibling died without a surviving spouse, descendants or surviving parents, his estate will be split equally among his siblings. If a sibling that should have inherited is no longer living, his descendants inherit his share. In other words, the decedent’s nieces and nephews inherit.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Sibling Inheritance Law in Georgia


Related articles

Dying Without a Will in Kentucky

If a person dies without a valid will, the law describes it as dying “intestate.” In this situation, the laws of the state where he lived dictate the allocation of his estate. In Kentucky, Chapters 391 and 392 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes set out the law relating to distribution of assets when an individual dies without a will. Kentucky operates a complex system of dower and succession laws to provide for the surviving spouse and other relatives of the deceased, known as the decedent.

A Self-Made Last Will & Testament in Oregon

If you're an Oregon resident, you can execute a valid self-made last will and testament, provided you adhere to the state's laws concerning will formalities. If you don't execute your will according to Oregon's prescribed formalities, your will could end up being declared invalid. If that happens, your property is then divided among your heirs according to Oregon's laws of intestate succession.

What Happens When Someone Dies Without a Will in Nebraska?

If someone dies with a valid will, the will leaves instructions about who should manage his estate and who should inherit his property. But, when a person dies without a will, he is said to have died “intestate” and Nebraska’s laws of intestate succession govern the way his estate is managed and distributed.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

What if the Heir Predeceases the Decedent in Texas?

In Texas, if an heir of a person dies before him, what happens to the heir's share of the estate depends on whether the ...

Dying Without a Will in Georgia

As in most states, if you die without a will in Georgia, or make an invalid will, your assets will be distributed ...

Dying Without a Will in Maine

While it can be a simple matter to create a will, many people die without having one. Sometimes, the process of ...

Mississippi Estate Inheritance Laws

If a Mississippi resident fails to make arrangements for the division of his property by making a will, his property ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED