The 1986 General Assembly may be remembered as much for what it did not do as for what it did. Carried over into the next session was House Bill 810, which would have abolished dower and curtesy in favor of a statutory share for the surviving spouse in the deceased spouse's estate. Of course, passage of this bill would have ushered in significant change in the practice of decedents' estates. Significantly, passage of the bill also would have legislatively overruled recent judicial and legislative activity which has created the sole and separate estate, for both female and male, allowing circumvention of the surviving spouse's claim of curtesy or dower. Many believe House Bill 810 is a long-awaited change whose time has come, but it must wait at least one more year.
W. W. Berryhill,
Annual Survey of Virginia Law: Property,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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