Friday, January 23, 2009

Uniform Probate Code

Last week, Massachusetts adopted the Uniform Probate Code, St.2008, c.521, resulting in major changes to current probate laws.  The new law repeals current chapters 189, 190 and 190A. According to the Mass. Bar Association,

"The reforms increase uniformity with other states, add protections for those under guardianship and the beneficiaries of trusts, eases the administration of probate matters for judges and court personnel and reduce delays for citizens. Among the changes are:
  •  Mandating courts to monitor guardianships and requiring guardians to issue annual reports.
  •  Shorten to seven days after the date of death (from as long as five months) the length of time it takes to appoint an estate administrator
  •  In the case of no will, the spouse gets the entire estate if the children are all of the marriage.
  •  Trustees will be required to notify beneficiaries of accountings and acceptance of appointment."
While some changes are effective July 1, 2009, most do not take effect until July 1, 2011. 

You can find links to this and other probate laws at Mass. Law About Wills and Estates. Remember, too, that you can always locate laws by name by using our Mass. Law by Popular Name table.