Practice Resources


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From left to right: Probate Law Section Chair Michael Christy and Vice Chair Jennifer Laucirica.

Note from Probate Law Leadership

Dear colleagues and fellow section members:

This is a very exciting time for probate practitioners in Massachusetts. The practice of probate law in Massachusetts is about to undergo a dramatic change in both procedure and substance. Members of the Probate Law Section are working tirelessly with legislators, members of the bar and the judiciary, and the banking industry to promote the passage of the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code and the Technical Corrections Bill for the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code.  

As you all know, all articles of the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code will become effective January 2, 2012. The Probate Law Section is committed to providing practical and informative programs to assist our members with the transition to the Uniform Probate Code and the Uniform Trust Code. As part of that effort, on January 5, 2012, our section is sponsoring a conference dedicated to the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code at Lombardo's in Randolph. The all-day conference will provide a comprehensive overview of the code presented by members of both the bar and the judiciary. Click here for more details and to register.

We are also collaborating with the Boston Bar Association and members of the judiciary to create an MUPC Resource Desk that will be staffed with volunteers at Probate Courts throughout the commonwealth.

Best regards,

Michael Christy, chair
Jennifer Laucirica, vice chair
Probate Law Section Council

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Urgent message concerning the Massachusetts UTC

We need everyone's HELP!

In order to get the MA UTC Legislation (House 3780) and MA UPC Corrective Legislation (Senate 704) passed to be effective on January 2, 2012, we need EVERYONE'S support in contacting their state senators and state representatives, even if they have been contacted within the past month.

We especially need help from those in those in Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr's district (First Essex and Middlesex consisting of Gloucester, Boxford, Essex, Georgetown, Groveland, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Middleton, Newbury, North Andover -- precincts 2, 3, 5 and 7, Rockport, Rowley, Wenham and West Newbury, in the County of Essex, and North Reading and Wilmington, in the County of Middlesex). Please contact Tarr and let him know it is very important for him to help get these bills passed.

Probate and Family Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey is working very hard to get both bills passed, especially since she indicated at the meeting last week that there are many fees that can NOT be charged effective January 2, 2012, without the passage of the MA UPC Corrective Legislation, Senate 704. In addition, if the UTC House 3780 does not pass, then we start the year with Article VII of MA UPC and at some point when the UTC passes, we then replace Article VII of the MA UPC with the UTC. These are very serious issues for the Probate Court and all of us.

Last week, legal counsel at the Legislature and Government Relations for the Boston Bar Association stated that in order to get these bills passed during informal session, every senator and representative should be contacted (even if contacted within the past month) to encourage passage of both bills. Apparently, that is how things work during informal session.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact section council member Robert H. Ryan at [e-mail BRyan] or Michael Christy, section council chair at [e-mail mrchristy].

Upcoming Probate Law Section Council meeting

As a member of the Probate Law Section, you are invited to attend the Probate Law Section Council meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 21 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston.

Click here to R.S.V.P.

The Probate Law Section Council will hold its monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of the month from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The meetings will be posted here.

NOTE: The approved minutes from previous meetings are always posted on the Probate Law Section Web site here.

Section members are encouraged to network and discuss pending issues from legislation, statutes, resolutions, cases and reports and are urged to alert the section/division council of any legislation, statutes, resolutions, cases and reports which might require our attention. Click here to contact the Probate Law Section Council.

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MUPC Resource Center

The MBA has developed an MUPC Resource Center for easy access to information on the code which goes into effect on January 2, 2012. For access to that resource center, click here. The information included in this resource center includes:

  • Facts - FAQs and the ability to ask your own questions;
  • Seminars - access to the five CLE programs over the next three months; and
  • Articles - providing an overview of the MUPC.



MUPC Basics Conference: An Overview of the New Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code
Thursday, Jan. 5, 9 a.m.- 5p.m.
Lombardo's, 16 Billings St., Randolph



This dynamic series is designed to provide probate practitioners (as well as those who aspire to be) with an in-depth knowledge of the MUPC, exactly how it works and instruction on the new probate forms that will be issued by the court. Click here to register for the remaining two programs, and to receive the first three programs via MBA On Demand, at a discounted price.

PART IV: Remedies and Protections under the MUPC Live program
Tuesday, Jan. 17, noon-4 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

PART V: Estate Planning under the MUPC Drafting Wills and Trusts Live program
Tuesday, Feb. 7, noon-4 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Recorded program In case you missed the Oct. 25 Part I: Informal Probate and Appointment Proceedings, the Nov. 15 Part II: The 'Ins and Outs' of Formal Probate Proceedings or the Dec. 13 PART III: Powers and Duties of the Personal Representatives and Options for Closing Estates, you can view the sessions via MBA On Demand.

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Legislative updates and alerts

Rule 72

The Supreme Judicial Court is still reviewing this and other pending rule changes. Upon approval by the SJC, Rule 72 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure will be repealed, and the new Rule 72 (same number) will be placed in the Supplemental Rules of the Probate and Family Court (which will become a consolidation of the General Rules of the Probate Court and the Supplemental Rules).

We will keep you informed as to when we can expect the SJC to act on the new rules.

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Power of attorney

As Massachusetts moves closer to adopting its own versions of uniform probate and trust codes, a group of practitioners, along with members of the judiciary, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin's office, elder services and the banking industry, have convened a task force to review Massachusetts's current durable power of attorney laws.

The task force's primary objectives will be to examine the effectiveness of our power of attorney laws and the strength of the protections that the laws afford those who grant power of attorneys, use power of attorneys and rely on power of attorneys.

The task force anticipates sharing its report in 2012.


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The MBA is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Join the conversation today

The Massachusetts Bar Association now has a presence on three social networking platforms, including Facebook, launched in October 2010, LinkedIn, launched in January 2010, and Twitter, launched in July 2009. All three social media platforms feature information about the MBA including CLE, events and news.

As an MBA member, we encourage you to both post items of interest to you, and the greater legal community, on these pages and comment on items already posted.

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Put your name out there

The goal of section councils is to offer members opportunities for professional growth and development through participation in section activities. One opportunity available to section members is publishing articles which are of interest to fellow practitioners. The MBA provides several forums for articles by section members - Lawyers Journal and the Massachusetts Law Review.  

If you are interested in writing an article for any of these publications or if you have seen articles which you think may be of interest to other Probate Law Section members, please contact Jean Stevens at [e-mail jstevens] for more information regarding this opportunity.

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