Skip to main content

My Uncle died with no will. He told his priest what he wanted but didn't write it down.

Norfolk, VA |

He told his priest that he wanted my parents to receive everything but has no will. Does a priest's confession hold up in court? My Uncle told his priest that he did not want his biological mother to receive a damn thing. What do we do?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

No will is no will. Doesn't matter what he told his priest. His estate will be distributed according to the laws of the Commonwealth. Surviving spouse first, then his children, then descendants of his children, THEN to his parents.

§ 64.1-1.Course of descents generally.

When any person having title to any real estate of inheritance shall die intestate as to such estate, it shall descend and pass in parcenary to such of his kindred, male and female, in the following course:

First. To the surviving spouse of the intestate, unless the intestate is survived by children or their descendants, one or more of whom are not children or their descendants of the surviving spouse, in which case two-thirds of such estate shall pass to all the intestate's children and their descendants and the remaining one-third of such estate shall pass to the intestate's surviving spouse.

Second. If there be no surviving spouse, then the whole shall go to all the intestate's children and their descendants.

Third. If there be none such, then to his or her father and mother or the survivor.

Fourth. If there be none such, then to his or her brothers and sisters, and their descendants.

Fifth. If there be none such, then one moiety shall go to the paternal, the other to the maternal kindred, of the intestate, in the following course:

Sixth. First to the grandfather and grandmother or the survivor.

Seventh. If there be none, then to the uncles and aunts, and their descendants.

Eighth. If there be none such, then to the great grandfathers or great grandfather, and great grandmothers or great grandmother.

Ninth. If there be none, then to the brothers and sisters of the grandfathers and grandmothers, and their descendants.

Tenth. And so on, in other cases, without end, passing to the nearest lineal ancestors, and the descendants of such ancestors.

Eleventh. If there be no paternal kindred the whole shall go to the maternal kindred; and if there be no maternal kindred, the whole shall go to the paternal kindred. If there be neither maternal nor paternal kindred, the whole shall go to the kindred of the husband or wife, in the like course as if such husband or wife had died entitled to the estate.

(Code 1950, § 64-1; 1956, c. 109; 1968, c. 656; 1977, c. 474; 1982, c. 304; 1985, c. 189; 1990, c. 831.)

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.


Verbal wills are not valid-sorry.
The statutory will-will prevail which means it will go to his children -if any and if none to his parents.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


Oral wills don't work except for "soldier's wills" in some states. A soldier's will is limited to personal effects and dates back to when a troop might be going out on a mission from which they might not return. In such instances he might say "Jack can have my watch and Phil can have my boots. Send the rest home." That's about it. What your unlce said doesn't matter.