Latest Publications


Undue Influence in Virginia: Does the Undue Influencer Have to Be a Beneficiary?

Without question, one of the most common estate disputes we see centers around allegations that one person unduly influenced another person to write (or re-write) a will or trust. The typical situation involves an elderly...more

The Role of the Commissioner of Accounts in Virginia Estate and Trust Administration

People typically picture the probate process going something like this: a person dies, you find their will, you take the will to the courthouse, the executor pays the debts, and then the executor distributes the assets. Of...more

I Do…I Do…Wait, Did We?: The Virginia Supreme Court Weighs in on the Timing of Marriage Licenses and Ceremonies

Imagine you’ve thought you were married for a decade and all of a sudden your spouse denies that you were ever married at all. The Virginia Supreme Court (the “Court”) recently decided just such a case in Levick v....more

Serial Suers and Vexatious Litigants: Can Courts Prevent Someone From Filing a Lawsuit?

The vexatious litigant is a problem that civil litigation attorneys very likely encounter at least once during their careers. It is a well-accepted precept that courts exist, in part, for citizens to seek redress for their...more

Be Careful With That Power of Attorney!: Arbitration Clauses and Nursing Home Lawsuits

On May 15, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its opinion in Kindred Nursing Centers, L.P. v. Clark. This case addressed the issue of whether an agent acting pursuant to a power of attorney could bind...more

UPDATE: Can an Intended (and Disappointed) Beneficiary Still Sue a Will’s Drafter?: The General Assembly of Virginia Enacts a...

Back in the summer I wrote a post discussing the impacts of the Thorsen decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia. In Thorsen, a testator wanted to leave her estate to a charity if her daughter did not survive her. The...more

Left At The Altar?: Who Owns The Engagement Ring When Love Goes Wrong?

You’ve found the right partner; you’ve found the right ring; and your fiancee accepted. Now imagine your fiancee unexpectedly breaks off the engagement. You are devastated. Your friends tell you there are plenty of fish in...more

A Post-Mortem, Spousal Surprise: Can My Husband Write Me Out of His Will?

Imagine this potentially devastating situation. Your spouse unexpectedly dies. You find his will and discover, shockingly, that he left everything to his adult son (or his mistress)! Is there anything you can do? This...more

11/30/2016  /  Divorce , Estate Planning , Separation , Spouses , Wills

Unfulfilled Expectations: May an Intended (and Disappointed) Beneficiary Sue a Will’s Drafter?

Imagine the following scenario.  Your elderly mother, your only surviving parent, wants to have a discussion with you about her estate plan.  She shows you her will and explains her intentions.  You look at the will and it...more

7/5/2016  /  Beneficiaries , Estate Planning , Wills

Guardianships for Disabled Young Adults

Consider a common situation: Mom and Dad care for their severely disabled child, who is quickly approaching 18 years of age. Let’s call this hypothetical soon-to-be adult Jane. Jane has suffered from severe autism her whole...more

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