Thursday, May 14, 2015


(a) The Registrar shall grant the application if:
(1) the application is complete in accordance with Section 3-313;
(2) all necessary persons have joined and have verified that the statements
contained therein are true, to the best knowledge and belief of each; (3) venue is proper;
(4) any notice required by Section 3-204 has been given or waived;
(5) the time limit for original probate or appointment proceedings has not expired and the applicants claim under a will;
(6) the application requests informal probate of a will, the application and findings conform with Sections 3-301(a)(2) and 3-303(a), (c), (d), and (e) so the will is admitted to probate; and
(7) none of the applicants is a minor or an incapacitated or protected person. (b) The Registrar shall deny the application if letters of administration are outstanding. (c) Except as provided in Section 3-322, the Registrar shall deny the application if any
creditor, heir, or devisee who is qualified by Section 3-605 to demand bond files an objection.
This section outlines the substantive requirements for universal succession and is the guideline to the Registrar for approval of the application. As in UPC Section 3-303, review of the filed documents is all that is required, with the Registrar expected to determine whether to approve on the basis of information available to the Registrar. There is very little discretion in the Registrar except that if something appears lacking in the application, the Registrar would be able to request additional information. The analogy to UPC Section 3-303 is rather direct and the authority of the Registrar is somewhat more limited because there is no parallel section to UPC Section 3-305 as there is in probate. (See also UPC Section 3-309.)
Section 3-314(a)(5) requires that the application for universal succession under a will be made before the time limit for original probate has expired. Against the background of UPC Section 3-108 which limits administration proceedings after three years except for proof of heirship or will construction, the heirs could take possession of property and prove their title without the universal succession provisions.
The review of the application by the Registrar essentially is a clerical matter to determine if the application exhibits the appropriate circumstance for succession without administration. Hence, if there are letters of administration outstanding, the application must be denied under Section 3-314(b). Even though a disinterested executor under a will should not be able to preclude those interested in the estate from settling the estate without administration, coordination of the Registrar’s action with the process of the probate court is imperative to protect the parties and the public. Consequently, any outstanding letters must be terminated before succession without administration is approved. Under the Uniform Probate Code, those with property interests in the estate are viewed as “interested persons” (UPC Section 1-201(23)) and may initiate either informal (UPC Section 3-105) or formal proceedings (UPC Section 3- 401); also the agreement of those interested in the estate is binding on the personal representative (UPC Sections 3-912, 3-1101). These provisions appear adequate to preclude the personal representative who has no other interest in the estate from frustrating those interested from utilizing succession without administration.
There is need for coordination with other process within the probate court when a petition for letters is pending (i.e., not withdrawn) as when letters were outstanding. The appropriateness of the appointment of the personal representative, i.e., whether administration was necessary, could be determined on an objection to the appointment under UPC Section 3-414(b); cf., Sections 3-608 to 3-612. If the appointment of a personal representative is denied, then the application for universal succession without administration could be approved in appropriate cases.
Section 3-314 does not require prior notice unless requested under UPC Section 3-204. Information to other heirs and devisees is provided after approval of the application. See Section 3-319.
If, after universal succession is approved, a creditor or devisee were not paid or secured, in addition to suing the successor directly, the creditor or devisee could move for appointment of a personal representative to administer the estate properly. This pressure on the universal

successors to perform seems desirable. In view of the availability of informal administration and other flexible alternatives under the UPC, if any person properly moves for appointment of a personal representative, succession without administration should be foreclosed or terminated.

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