Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed into law a bill designed to correct a procedural omission in the Uniform Probate Code (UPC) – a correction that will save lots of people time and money. The law will go into effect April 6, 2017.
For more than two years, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA) has been actively advocating for the passage of this bill by providing testimony and meeting with lawmakers. Congratulations to MATA and its Legislative Chair, Timothy Kelleher, for the diligent work that got this legislation on the Governor’s desk and signed into law.
In 1993, the statute allowing for the three-year statute of limitations (G.L.c. 197 § 9A), was amended by Chapter 319 of the Acts of 1993 to add a second paragraph:
“If an executor or administrator has not been appointed, then an action allowed under this may be maintained without such appointment, and shall be maintained naming the decedent as the defendant. In such event any service of process that may be necessary shall be made upon the entity providing the insurance or bond.”
The Uniform Probate Code, effective in March of 2012, incorporated the original first paragraph of c. 197, §9A as c. 190B, §3-803(d)(2), but it omitted the second paragraph. The problem with the omission was even greater than the original problem remedied by 1993 amendment, because a creditor’s administration is not possible under the UPC. While creditors can petition for someone else to be appointed as personal representative under certain conditions, the UPC is not a model of clarity in these situations.
MATA understood the difficulties the omission presented to plaintiffs’ practice and set out to remedy the situation. H. 1194 re-inserted the language of what was the second paragraph of c. 197, §9A. Again, congratulations to the team that made this possible.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).