Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to subnav
Searching 2019-2020 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The statutes were updated in November, 2018, and contain all actions of the
2018 legislative session.

Title 14: Decedents Estates and Fiduciary Relations

Chapter 003: PROBATE AND PROCEDURE FOR CONSTRUCTION OF WILLS

  • § 101. Will not effective until allowed

    To be effective, a will must be allowed in the Probate Division of the Superior Court, or by appeal in the Civil Division of the Superior Court or the Supreme Court. (Amended 1985, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 120, eff. Feb. 1, 2011; 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 102. Allowance conclusive as to execution

    The allowance of a will shall be conclusive as to its due execution and validity. (Amended 1985, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 103. Custodian of will to deliver

    If a person has the custody of a will, within 30 days after learning of the death of the testator, the custodian shall deliver the will to the Probate Division of the Superior Court where venue lies or to the executor named in the will. (Amended 1985, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238a, eff. Feb. 1, 2011; 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 104. Executor to present will and accept or refuse trust

    (a) A person named executor in a will who has knowledge thereof shall file a death certificate and petition to open the decedent's estate in the Probate Division of the Superior Court where venue lies with reasonable promptness.

    (b) A petition to open an estate need not be filed when no assets require probate administration. The named executor may file with the court an original death certificate and will without filing a petition to open an estate by notifying the court that no assets appear to require probate administration. (Amended 1985, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238a, eff. Feb. 1, 2011; 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 105. Repealed. 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

  • § 106. Duty of custodian of will; liability

    (a) After the death of a testator and on request of an interested person, a person having custody of a will of the testator shall deliver it with reasonable promptness to an appropriate court. A person who intentionally refuses or fails to deliver a will after being ordered to do so by the court in a proceeding brought for the purpose of compelling delivery may be subject to proceedings for civil contempt under 12 V.S.A. § 122.

    (b) A person who suffers damages as a result of another person's intentional failure to deliver a will shall have an action in Superior Court for damages and injunctive relief. (Amended 1971, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 17; 1985, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238a, eff. Feb. 1, 2011; 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 107. Allowance of will; custody of property

    (a) If consents are filed by all the heirs at law and surviving spouse, a will may be allowed without hearing. If consents are not obtained, the court shall schedule a hearing and notice shall be given as provided by the Rules of Probate Procedure.

    (b) Objections to allowance of the will must be filed in writing not less than three business days prior to the hearing. In the event that no timely objections are filed, the will may be allowed without hearing if it meets criteria set out in section 108 of this title.

    (c) After delivery of the will to the court, the person named as executor in the will shall have power pending allowance thereof, to assume custody of the estate for its preservation until a special or other administrator is appointed and qualifies. (Amended 1975, No. 240 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1985, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 17; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238a, eff. Feb. 1, 2011; 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 108. Self-proved wills

    A will may be self-proved as to its execution, by the sworn acknowledgment of the testator and the witnesses, made before a notary public or other official authorized to administer oaths in the place of execution in the following circumstances:

    (1) The testator signed the instrument as the testator's will or expressly directed another to sign for the testator in the presence of two witnesses.

    (2) The signing was the testator's free and voluntary act for the purposes expressed in the will.

    (3) Each witness signed at the request of the testator, in the testator's presence, and in the presence of the other witness.

    (4) To the best knowledge of each witness at the time of the signing, the testator was at least 18 years of age or emancipated by court order and was of sound mind and under no constraint or undue influence. (Amended 1985, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 18; 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 109. Repealed. 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

  • § 110. Absence of witness, proof

    When it appears to the court that a will cannot be proven as otherwise provided by law, because one or more of the subscribing witnesses are unavailable or incapable of testifying, the court may admit the will to probate upon the testimony in person or by affidavit of at least one credible disinterested individual that the signature to the will is in the handwriting of the person whose will it purports to be, or upon other sufficient proof of the handwriting, and the will on its face complies with other legal requirements. This section shall not preclude the court, in its discretion, from requiring additional testimony of any available subscribing witness or proof of other pertinent facts and circumstances that the court deems necessary to admit the will to probate. (Amended 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 111. Notice to beneficiaries

    Within 30 days after the allowance of a will, the court shall mail, postage paid, a written notice thereof to each beneficiary, devisee, or legatee named in the will, and to any other person who contested the allowance. (Amended 1985, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 19; 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 112. Wills made out of state

    (a) A last will and testament executed outside this State in the mode prescribed by the law, either of the place where executed or of the testator's domicile, shall be deemed to be legally executed and shall be of the same force and effect as if executed in the mode prescribed by the laws of this State, provided that the last will and testament is in writing and subscribed by the testator.

    (b) When a will is allowed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Probate Division of the Superior Court shall grant letters testamentary or letters of administration with the will annexed, and the letters shall extend to all the estate of the testator in this State. After the payment of enforceable debts and expenses of administration, the estate shall be disposed of according to the will so far as the will may operate upon it, and the residue shall be disposed of as is provided in case of estates in this State belonging to persons who are residents of another state or country. (Amended 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 113. Wills allowed out of state-Generally

    A will allowed in any other state, or in a foreign country, according to the laws of that state or country, may be the subject of ancillary administration in the Probate Division of the Superior Court. (Amended 1971, No. 179 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1985, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 20; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238a, eff. Feb. 1, 2011; 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 114. Petition and hearing on

    (a) When a will has been allowed in any other state or country, as provided in section 113 of this title, an executor or other person interested may file a petition for ancillary administration. The petition shall contain:

    (1) a duly authenticated copy of the decedent's will and the allowance thereof, where probate is required by the laws of the state or country; or

    (2) a duly authenticated certificate of the legal custodian of the original will that the same is a true copy and that the will has become operative by the laws of the state or country, where probate is not required by the laws of the state or country; or

    (3) a copy of a notarial will in possession of a notary in a foreign state or country entitled to the custody thereof and duly authenticated by the notary, the laws of the state or country requiring that the will remain in the custody of the notary.

    (b) After receiving a petition for ancillary administration, the Probate Division of the Superior Court shall schedule a hearing and require notice as provided by the Rules of Probate Procedure. Objections to allowance of the will in Vermont shall be filed in writing not less than 14 business days prior to the hearing. In the event that no objections are filed, the will shall be allowed without hearing. (Amended 1985, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 21; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238a, eff. Feb. 1, 2011; 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 115. Order for filing

    If the instrument is allowed in this State as the last will and testament of the deceased, the copy shall be filed and recorded and the will shall have the same effect as if originally allowed in the same court. (Amended 1971, No. 179 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1985, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 22; 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • §§ 116, 117. Repealed. 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

  • § 118. Referral to Superior Court

    The Probate Division of the Superior Court may, on its own motion or upon motion of an interested person, refer a matter directly to the Civil Division of the Superior Court for the purpose of conserving judicial resources. The Probate Division shall consult with and obtain the consent of the Civil Division before making a transfer pursuant to this section. A decision of the Civil Division whether to consent to a transfer under this section shall be final and shall not be appealed. (Added 2017, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)