Wills, Trusts, and Estates

Parentelic System

To distribute property when there are no first-line collaterals, most states use a parentelic system. This includes Virginia. VA Code § 64.2-200(A)(5)(e).

A parentelic system looks up generations of ancestors until there is a living descendant in that parentela, or line. (i.e., look at the grandparents, then the great-grandparents, etc. until you find someone with a living descendant, then split all the amount among his descendants only.)

E.g, a first cousin would be chosen over a great-grandparent because a first cousin is a descendant of a grandparent, which is a closer parentela.