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Wrongful death of my stepfather. How should the settlement be divided between my wife and her stepmother? (Virginia)

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Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
Wrongful death claims are (generally) filed by the personal representative of the estate of the deceased for the benefit of the heirs.
True, and in Virginia the law is that the personal representative brings the claim and the beneficiaries of the claim are set out in the state statute, in this case the statute would set the beneficiaries as the wife and children of the deceased. Virginia law also states that the court is to specify in its verdict or judgment the share that is to go to each beneficiary, or alternatively the jury may be asked to make that allocation. The complicating factor here, though, is that the action was brought against the VA, a federal agency, and thus would have been litigated in U.S. district court, not in Virginia courts. So I think it would be helpful to nail down exactly who the parties were in the federal lawsuit to figure out where the OP's wife stands now.
 


quincy

Senior Member
True, and in Virginia the law is that the personal representative brings the claim and the beneficiaries of the claim are set out in the state statute, in this case the statute would set the beneficiaries as the wife and children of the deceased. Virginia law also states that the court is to specify in its verdict or judgment the share that is to go to each beneficiary, or alternatively the jury may be asked to make that allocation. The complicating factor here, though, is that the action was brought against the VA, a federal agency, and thus would have been litigated in U.S. district court, not in Virginia courts. So I think it would be helpful to nail down exactly who the parties were in the federal lawsuit to figure out where the OP's wife stands now.
Apparently the stepmom and wife are trying to settle outside court.
 

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