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Expectancy refers to the share of an estate that an heir apparent stands to inherit upon the death of an ancestor. Since expectancies are only potential future interests, and have not yet vested, the transfer of them is generally considered void under common law. However, as discussed in this Supreme Court of Virginia case, courts may recognize the release of an expectancy interest in an ancestor’s estate, as long as it is made for valuable consideration and free from circumstances of fraud.

Expectancy may also refer to the expectation of a business relationship that has been tortiously interfered with.

[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]