BBA Endorses Spousal Elective Share Bill
On Tuesday, February 19th 2013, the BBA Council approved
of the Ad Hoc Elective Share Committee to support An
Act relative to the elective share of surviving spouses. This action followed a
presentation by Deborah Manus, Co-Managing Partner of Nutter McClennen &
Fish and of the BBA’s two designees on The Ad Hoc Elective Share Committee, and
Suma Nair, an associate at Goulston & Storrs and co-chair of the BBA Trusts
and Estates Section. The legislation was filed by Senator Cynthia Creem and
updates the spousal elective share statute, M.G.L. c. 191, §15. The
current statute has been described as antiquated and inequitable. The
proposed legislation is similar to the Uniform Probate Code, as amended in the
2008. This legislation will ease estate administration and provide
predictability of results.
The Ad Hoc Elective Share Committee is made up of representatives from the
Boston Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association and Women’s Bar
Association. Colin Korzec of U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth
Management was the other BBA representative to the Ad Hoc Committee. The
Ad Hoc Committee has worked since 2004 on this legislation. They were able
to study and analyze several versions of the spousal elective share statute that
had previously been filed in the Massachusetts Legislature as well as similar
statutes filed in other states.
The BBA is a strong supporter of alimony reform in Massachusetts which would result in reasonable and accessible spousal support guidelines. Our recommendations have influenced much of the substance and debate in this area, and the BBA continues to advocate for a framework that would increase predictability and consistency in alimony orders.
The BBA endorses guidelines that promote predictability, fairness, and uniformity in orders of support for children and are workable for attorneys and pro se litigants alike. In January 2010, the BBA filed an amicus brief in Fathers & Families, Inc. v. Chief Justice for Administration and Management. In the brief, we argued that the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are constitutional.
The BBA believes that civil marriage is a basic civil rights issue fundamental to the freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 14th amendment. In recent years, the BBA has taken other actions in support of same-sex marriage, including:
In 2002, we filed an independent amicus brief in support of same-sex couples seeking the right to marry in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health. In the brief, we argued that denying civil marriage licenses violated the Massachusetts Constitution.
In 2005, we drafted a brief supporting the position of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) in Cote-Whiteacre v. Dept. of Pub Health. We argued that the 1913 statute, which prevents non-resident couples from marrying in Massachusetts if that marriage would be void in their home state, was unconstitutional.
See More of Our Work
For more information about our work in this area or to learn how to get involved, please email Kathleen Joyce, Director of Government Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org