Probate and Family Court Announces Procedural and Form Changes as a Result of the MUTC

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

AuthorNikki Marie Oliveira, Esq., LL.M., Margolis & Bloom, LLP

As we all know, the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code (“MUTC”) has been adopted as M.G.L. ch. 203E.  It replaced all but Part V of Article VII of the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (“MUPC”).  The adoption of this new law brought about some changes for the probate process and the MUPC in general, as discussed below.

Both the MUPC and MUTC were adopted with the intent to make the processes more streamlined and efficient.  As practitioners are navigating through these labyrinths, it appears that the underlining goals of these news laws are in sight.  A foundational purpose of enacting the MUPC and MUTC was to decrease judicial proceedings and court intervention overall.  Accordingly, the usual court functions regarding trusts have changed quite a bit, lessening court involvement for the majority of trust administration. 

One such change affects trustees of testamentary trusts.  For example, it is no longer necessary to petition the court for the appointment of a trustee under a testamentary trust.  After the will is approved, the new process merely requires the appointed trustee to confirm his appointment and seek the approval of an accompanying bond.  The courts no longer issue letters to trustees appointed under the MUTC, but will send an attested copy of the statement form if the bond is approved by the court.

Another significant change involves the removal of trustees.  Under the MUTC, the settlor, co-trustee or beneficiary may seek the removal of a trustee for reasons other than cause.  In order for the court to grant the removal, the following three requirements must be satisfied: (1) removal serves the best interests of all beneficiaries of the trust; (2) removal does not interfere with a material purpose of the trust; and (3) there is a suitable co-trustee or successor trustee available and willing to serve.

The following is an overview of the forms changes:

New Trust Forms:

¨      MPC 275- Statement of Confirmation of a Testamentary Trustee

¨      MPC 351- General Trust Petition for Appointment of Guardian ad Litem

¨      MPC 777- Decree and Order on General Trust Petition Appointing Guardian ad        Litem

¨      MPC 266- Petition for Resignation/Removal/Appointment of a Successor Trustee

¨      MPC 782- Decree and Order on Petition for Resignation/Removal/Appointment of a Successor Trustee

¨      MPC 267- Petition to Terminate a Trust

¨      MPC 783- Decree and Order to Terminate a Trust

Revised Trust Forms:

¨      MPC 201- General Trust Petition

¨      MPC 857- Petition for Allowance of Account

¨      MPC 791- Decree and Order of Allowance of Account

¨      MPC 295- Petition to Modify Bond

¨      MPC 776- Decree and Order to Modify Bond

The following two forms have been replaced by new form MPC 275:

¨      MPC 275- Petition for Appointment of Testamentary Trustee

¨      MPC 781- Decree and Order on Petition for Appointment of Testamentary Trustee

Please click here to read the Probate Court Press Release and click here to read the full Procedural Advisory.  The MUPC and MUTC forms can be found here.