Sunday, June 28, 2009
Karen J. Sneddon (Assistant Professor, Mercer University School of Law) has recently published her article entitled Beyond the Personal Representative: The Potential of Succession Without Administration, 50 S.Tex. L. Rev. 449 (2009).
Below is the abstract from the article:
The baby-boom generation has changed a number of institutions, such as schools, and has challenged a number of assumptions. As the baby-boom generation ages, one such institution that may be changed is the probate court, a court that handles estates. A revived Succession without Administration could facilitate the efficient and effective transfer of estates. To complement the Uniform Probate Code's already “Flexible System of Administration of Decedents' Estates,” the Uniform Probate Code was amended in 1983 to include Succession without Administration. Succession without Administration provides for administration free from court supervision that is not restricted to the size of a decedent's estate and a spreading of estate management beyond the personal representative. That means that solvent estates with relatively liquid assets and agreement among beneficiaries could benefit from this alternative. It could promote the goal of family harmony.Despite being viewed by its primary draftsperson as a natural progression of minimal court supervision and buttressed by the identification of such a need in the 1940s, no jurisdiction has adopted the Succession without Administration provisions. In 2007, the provisions were declared “obsolete” and officially “withdrawn from recommendation for enactment.”First, this Article briefly considers the origins, functions, and problems of administration. Second, this Article surveys statutes featuring informal administration procedures that stop short of the expansive options of the Uniform Probate Code's Succession without Administration, including one procedure that has been in use since the late nineteenth century. Third, this Article analyzes the options in the Uniform Probate Code to minimize court supervision. In addition to analyzing Succession without Administration, this Article reviews procedures inherent, affidavit procedures, and summary procedures for small estates. Finally, this Article reasons that the overlooked Uniform Probate Code's Succession without Administration should be reconsidered by jurisdictions. It ensures the greatest number of options for the settlement of estates, including large solvent estates with liquid assets. Succession without Administration would also allow the spreading of authority to handle and manage the estate, which, in some cases, may preserve family harmony.