Abstract

Once upon a time the content of a legal notice posted on the courthouse door was likely to become a matter of community knowledge within a reasonable period of time. Today, however, few persons would seriously suggest that courthouse posting satisfies minimum due process requirements for notice to parties of a proceeding affecting their property rights. Yet this is the only form of notice that Virginia law provides for beneficiaries when their fiduciaries make accountings before the commissioner of accounts. And, topping this, there is no provision for any form of notice to beneficiaries when the commissioner reports to the court on the fiduciaries' accountings. Accordingly, this article argues that Virginia's present fiduciary accounting notice provision, Code § 26-27, is patently unconstitutional and that it should be replaced in an orderly fashion before a judicial decision to that effect casts our fiduciary administration system into disarray. Legislative proposals are appended to this article that will largely, though not perfectly, resolve these problems without imposing a time, substance, or economic burden on any party. Although Code § 26-27 deals with the accounts of personal representatives, guardians, curators, committees, and trustees, this article will focus on only one of these groups - testamentary trustees - in order to facilitate a presentation of the issues.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 1997

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