No Will-Priority of Beneficiaries

§64.1-1 of Virginia Code. This code section sets the priority of distribution of real estate in case of intestacy. 

§64.1-11, which directs the distribution of personal estate in case of intestacy, refers to 

§64.1-1 for the order of distribution.In Virginia, real estate vests immediately to heirs-at-law; estate administration relates to personal estate of the decedent. 

After payment of the funeral expenses, debts of the decedent, and administration expenses, distribution to the heirs-at-law is in the same order as the distribution of real estate.

  • The first in line is the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse will collect the entire estate when there are no children from a prior marriage. If there are children from a prior marriage, the share of the surviving spouse is reduced to one-third of the estate. The other two thirdsare divided among the children of the decedent.
  • The second in line are the children of the decedent. When there is no surviving spouse, the whole estate is divided among the children and their descendants.