Uniform Probate Code

Written by Jared Vincenti
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Although there seems to be great overlap between federal and state laws in many areas, probate is a legal arena largely left to the states. While there are federal taxes on probate, such as the Federal Estate Tax, there is not a national probate code. Many states have been working together to try to adapt their probate codes so that probate laws are uniform from state to state.

Adopting the Uniform Probate Code

It has long been recognized that inter-state business often makes it easier for states to have comparable, if not identical, laws. In fact, a committee was formed in 1892 to promote the acceptance of uniform laws in all legal branches. Called the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCUSL), it was founded on recommendation of the American Bar Association.

Since many people do business, own property, and reside in several states during the course of their lives, their estates may require settlement in more than one state. To ease this process, the NCUSL has recommended and proposed a Uniform Probate Code. This would make it so that all states recognize the same procedure in the probate process.

However, there have been many complications in the passage of the Uniform Probate Code. Even though versions have been issued from 1969 to 1990, only 18 states have officially adopted it. These states are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.

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