ACTEC Law Journal


Law and society inextricably link family and wealth transmission. An individual’s right to inherit from an intestate decedent depends on whether the individual has a legally recognized familial relationship to the decedent. Similarly, when a class gift in a donative document uses a term of relationship to identify the class members, an individual’s right to share in the gift depends on the legal recognition of the relationship. The enactment of the 2017 Uniform Parentage Act required a revision of the intestacy and class gift provisions of the Uniform Probate Code.

We were the reporters, or principal drafters, of the UPC revisions, which were completed in 2019.

This article has three objectives. One is to describe each of the 2019 revisions to the UPC. A second is to explain how the statutory changes promote the UPC’s purposes and policies. A third is to encourage bar associations and legislative committees in each state to consider in tandem the 2017 Uniform Parentage Act and the 2019 UPC. The 2017 UPA provides the framework within which the 2019 UPC meets the wealth transfer needs of modern families. The 2019 UPC, in turn, supplements the 2017 UPA by determining inheritance rights and rules of construction based, in large part, on the UPA’s requirements for the establishment of parent-child relationships. The enactment of the 2017 UPA and the 2019 UPC, together, furthers a state’s obligation to provide clarity regarding parent-child relationships and to effectuate the lifetime and deathtime donative intent of its residents. Given the interstate mobility of state residents and their families, we encourage states across the U.S. to enact these uniform provisions.



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