Probate Code Amendments (2008) Summary

The Uniform Probate Code (UPC), which is fully adopted in 19 states (and partially adopted as various stand-alone acts in many others) provides an integrated statutory system for all sorts of probate and estate law matters.   The UPC, along with its constituent stand-alone acts, has been frequently updated since its inception in 1969.  

The principal features of the 2008 revisions are summarized as follows:

Inflation Adjustments. Between 1990 and 2008, the Consumer Price Index rose by somewhat more than 50 percent. The 2008 revisions raise the dollar amounts by 50 percent in Article II Sections 2-102, 2-102A, 2-201, 2-402, 2-403, and 2-405, and added a new cost of living adjustment section — Section 1-109.

Intestacy. Article II of the UPC dealing with intestate succession has been reorganized and expanded to extend intestate inheritance rights to a broader group of potential heirs based on the existence of a “parent-child relationship” as defined therein.  Specifically, Part 1 on intestacy was divided into two subparts: Subpart 1 on general rules of intestacy and subpart 2 on parent-child relationships.  This last change significantly modernizes the UPC’s treatment of non-marital children, adoptive children, and children of assisted reproduction.  

Execution of Wills. Section 2-502 was amended to allow notarized wills as an alternative to wills that are attested by two witnesses. That amendment necessitated minor revisions to Section 2-504 on self-proved wills and to Section 3-406 on the effect of notarized wills in contested cases.

Reformation and Modification. The process and standards under which a will can be reformed or corrected are clarified to be consistent with the Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills and other Transfers, and the Uniform Trust Code.   New Sections 2-805 and 2-806 brought the reformation and modification sections now contained in the Uniform Trust Code into the Uniform Probate Code.

Class Gifts. Section 2-705 on class gifts was revised in a variety of ways, as explained in the revised Comment to that section.