Sunday, October 28, 2012
John H. Martin (Professor of Law, Pettit College of Law, Ohio Northern University) recently published his article entitled Non-Judicial Estate Settlement, 45 U.Mich. J.L. Reform 965 (2012). The introduction from the article is below:
The Uniform Probate Code (UPC) simplified and streamlined the settlement of estates through the probate process. The UPC offers a wide range of options--a virtual smorgasbord--for settling and administering a decedent's estate. Some options are remarkably free of judicial involvement. With very limited exception, however, the options entangle beneficiaries in a series of requirements that are frequently unnecessary and unwanted. Increasingly, because of desires for simplicity, privacy, and efficiency, the public, the bar, and legislatures reject the courts as the venue for transmitting a decedent's assets at her death. Thus, despite the improvements introduced by the UPC, probate is shunned.
To address the deficiencies of probate, this Article advocates adoption by the UPC of a non-judicial estate settlement option. To understand the need for such a mechanism, Section I briefly examines the discontent with traditional probate, legislative responses to this discontent, and the UPC's failure to resolve these issues. Section II proposes and describes a non-judicial option: a registration system. Section III explains how a registration system addresses the present dissatisfaction with probate, and Section IV demonstrates that the proposed system will attain the goals of estate settlement.