H. B. 2709
(By Delegates Stalnaker, Evans and
[Introduced February 9, 1999; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend article four, chapter forty-four of the code of
West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated section
fourteen-a, relating to imposing a maximum five-year
limitation on the time for settlement of decedent's estates
by fiduciaries; requiring notification when estate is
closed; requiring notification if estate is not closed;
requiring sheriff to close estate under certain
circumstances; and providing civil and criminal penalties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article four, chapter forty-four of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be
amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section
fourteen-a, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 4. ACCOUNTING BY FIDUCIARIES.
§44-4-14a. Final settlement by fiduciaries for decedent's
(a) The provisions of this chapter notwithstanding, every
fiduciary for the estate of a resident decedent shall, within
five years of appointment as fiduciary make a full and final
settlement, report and accounting for the decedent's estate in
the manner provided for in this code for accountings by
fiduciaries, and further shall, at the time of making the final
settlement, notify in writing the clerk of the county commission
of the county where the fiduciary was appointed that the final
settlement has been made.
(b) Any fiduciary failing to comply with this section, in
whole or in part, is personally liable to the beneficiaries or
creditors of the decedent's estate for any loss or waste cause by
the failure to make the final settlement. The fiduciary is,
except for good and sufficient cause shown, subject to a personal
penalty of not less than two hundred fifty dollars nor more than
one thousand dollars, payable to the clerk of the county
commission, for the failure to comply with this section.
(c) In the event the fiduciary has not made the final
settlement of the estate within five years of appointment, the
fiduciary shall notify the county commission that the final
settlement has not been made. If the fiduciary does not establish good cause for not making the final settlement within
the five-year period, as determined by the county commission, the
fiduciary is discharged of his or her duties as fiduciary. The
sheriff of the county shall then take charge of the estate and
proceed to make a final settlement of the estate in an
(d) A fiduciary who fails to notify the county commission in
accordance with subsection (c) of this section is guilty of a
misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less
than fifty dollars nor more than five hundred dollars.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to fix a maximum time
period for the settlement of decedent's estates at five years.
This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.