This article will examine the various economic needs of the typical family during both the probate and the post-probate periods. The discussion will be presented under three separate headings which, it is hoped, will help to identify the major areas of concern. These three major areas of concern are: (I) a family allowance-to defray the ordinary and necessary expenses associated with the maintenance of a household for the decedent's family during the probate period, (II) a right to exempt property-to insure the continued possession by the decedent's family of those articles of personal property that are indispensable to the maintenance of daily life during both the probate period and the post-probate period, and (III) a homestead allowance-to guarantee a small "nest-egg" to the decedent's family as it enters the post-probate period. As a part of the discussion of each category of concern, there will be an examination of those provisions in existing Virginia law that attempt to respond to the needs that are found within that category, and a presentation of certain conclusions concerning the direction that Virginia law should take in the future. Lastly, an Appendix to this article will contain proposed language for what are believed to be four rather straight-forward statutes that would replace the present, inadequate laws with a well-balanced plan of basic protection for the decedent's surviving spouse or minor children.
J. Rodney Johnson, Support of the Surviving Spouse and Minor Children in Virginia: Proposed Legislation v. Present Law, 14 U. Rich L. Rev. 639 (1980)