Tuesday, March 31, 2015



The following free-standing Act is associated with Article III:
Revised Uniform Estate Tax Apportionment Act
Article III, Part 9A has also been adopted as the free-standing Revised Uniform Estate Tax Apportionment Act (2003).
The provisions of this article describe the Flexible System of Administration of Decedents’ Estates. Designed to be applicable to both intestate and testate estates and to provide persons interested in decedents’ estates with as little or as much by way of procedural and adjudicative safeguards as may be suitable under varying circumstances, this system is the heart of the Uniform Probate Code.
The organization and detail of the system here described may be expressed in varying ways and some states may see fit to reframe parts of this article to better accommodate local institutions. Variations in language from state to state can be tolerated without loss of the essential purposes of procedural uniformity and flexibility, if the following essential characteristics are carefully protected in the redrafting process:
(1) Post-mortem probate of a will must occur to make a will effective and appointment of a personal representative by a public official after the decedent’s death is required in order to create the duties and powers attending the office of personal representative. Neither are compelled, however, but are left to be obtained by persons having an interest in the consequence of probate or appointment. Estates descend at death to successors identified by any probated will, or to heirs if no will is probated, subject to rights which may be implemented through administration.
(2) Two methods of securing probate of wills which include a non-adjudicative determination (informal probate) on the one hand, and a judicial determination after notice to all interested persons (formal probate) on the other, are provided.
(3) Two methods of securing appointment of a personal representative which include appointment without notice and without final adjudication of matters relevant to priority for appointment (informal appointment), on the one hand, and appointment by judicial order after notice to interested persons (formal appointment) on the other, are provided.
(4) A five day waiting period from death preventing informal probate or informal appointment of any but a special administrator is required.
(5) Probate of a will by informal or formal proceedings or an adjudication of intestacy

may occur without any attendant requirement of appointment of a personal representative.
(6) One judicial, in rem, proceeding encompassing formal probate of any wills (or a determination after notice that the decedent left no will), appointment of a personal representative and complete settlement of an estate under continuing supervision of the court (supervised administration) is provided for testators and persons interested in a decedent’s estate, whether testate or intestate, who desire to use it.
(7) Unless supervised administration is sought and ordered, persons interested in estates (including personal representatives, whether appointed informally or after notice) may use an “in and out” relationship to the court so that any question or assumption relating to the estate, including the status of an estate as testate or intestate, matters relating to one or more claims, disputed titles, accounts of personal representatives, and distribution, may be resolved or established by adjudication after notice without necessarily subjecting the estate to the necessity of judicial orders in regard to other or further questions or assumptions.
(8) The status of a decedent in regard to whether he left a valid will or died intestate must be resolved by adjudication after notice in proceedings commenced within three years after his death. If not so resolved, any will probated informally becomes final, and if there is no such probate, the status of the decedent as intestate is finally determined, by a statute of limitations which bars probate and appointment unless requested within three years after death.
(9) Personal representatives appointed informally or after notice, and whether supervised or not, have statutory powers enabling them to collect, protect, sell, distribute and otherwise handle all steps in administration without further order of the court, except that supervised personal representatives may be subjected to special restrictions on power as endorsed on their letters.
(10) Purchasers from personal representatives and from distributees of personal representatives are protected so that adjudications regarding the testacy status of a decedent or any other question going to the propriety of a sale are not required in order to protect purchasers.
(11) Provisions protecting a personal representative who distributes without adjudication are included to make nonadjudicated settlements feasible.
(12) Statutes of limitation bar creditors of the decedent who fail to present claims within four months after legal advertising of the administration and unsecured claims not previously barred by non-claim statutes are barred after three years from the decedent’s death.
Overall, the system accepts the premise that the court’s role in regard to probate and administration, and its relationship to personal representatives who derive their power from public appointment, is wholly passive until some interested person invokes its power to secure resolution of a matter. The state, through the court, should provide remedies which are suitable and efficient to protect any and all rights regarding succession, but should refrain from intruding into family affairs unless relief is requested, and limit its relief to that sought.

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