Wednesday, November 10, 2010
In Dolby v. Dolby, 694 S.E.2d 635 (Va. 2010), the decedent and his wife owned their home as tenants by the entireties. At his death, the decedent was the sole obligor on the promissory note securing the mortgage on the property. The decedent’s will stated that all of testator’s real property would pass subject to any mortgage on the property. Reversing the circuit court, the Supreme Court of Virginia held that the decedent’s estate was liable for the mortgage. First, the decedent was personally and solely liable on the note and thus the obligation was a debt of the decedent’s estate. Second, the provision in the will was inapplicable because the property passed to the surviving spouse by operation of law and was not part of the estate.
Special thanks to William P. LaPiana (Rita and Joseph Solomon Professor of Wills, Trusts,and Estates, New York Law School) for bringing this to my attention.