King v. Beale
In King v. Beale, 198 Va. 802, 96 S.E.2d 765 (Va. 1957), the Virginia Supreme Court addressed a strikingly similar issue to the one at hand--whether an arbitration clause survives the death of a party to the arbitration. In that case, the Virginia Supreme Court held that where the party had entered into a common-law arbitration agreement, the death of one party before the arbitrator's award revoked the submission agreement and terminated the power and authority which that party had granted the arbitrator to enter an award.
The Court noted:
In case of the death of a party to an arbitration agreement, the agreement is revoked and the power of the arbitrator is terminated by operation of law upon the universally accepted principle that the death of a principal operates as an instantaneous and absolute revocation of the agent's power or authority, unless the agency is coupled with an interest. King, 96 S.E.2d at 770.