If my father died with no written Will but he told his famly what he wanted, can this at as an oral Will?

My father died very fast with no time to make a Will. He did however tell all of his children, his brothers, and his sister how he wanted his estate divided. Now one of my sisters say we can not do what he wanted because there was no written Will. That everything he owned has to be sold and divided 4 ways. His children. He had specifically told people orally that he wanted certain real estate and personal property to go to different people. Can my father’s dying wishes be honored? Is this an oral Will and can we honor his dying wishes? He wanted a small home he owned to go to 1 grandchild who lived with him and his truck to go to my brother, the rest sold and divided 4 ways. He had specifically told people orally that he wanted certain real estate and personal property to go to different people. Can my father’s dying wishes be honored?

Asked on June 29, 2012 under Estate Planning, Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss. When you die with out a Will it is called dying intestate and the intestacy laws in the state will apply.   Oral Wills are known as Nuncupative Wills and although they are not generally upheld (except in certain situations), in the state of Virginia an oral contract to make a Will can be upheld. That is where say your father promised his grandson the house if he lived with him and took care of him.  The grandson would need to prove his end of the bargain - and he needs evidence - and he might win that battle.  You as heirs can also agree to the distribution if you know that it was your father's wishes.  But your sister may not agree here.  I would have the grandson seek legal help here.  Good luck. 


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