May 2012 Newsletter
MUPC #2         



On May 11, 2012, Attorney Ryan, Paula, and Rachel all attended the daylong seminar sponsored by MCLE (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education). Entitled "The New MUPC Is Here...and Now," the faculty/presenters were composed of numerous Probate & Family Court judges, Assistant Judicial Case Managers, and attorneys who practice estate administration in the probate court. The presentation included an in-depth summary of the Massachusetts Uniform Code, options for opening estates, and how to deal with estates in the transition period, that is those estates filed before March 31, 2012.


As of March 31, 2012, when the MUPC went into effect, many statutes were repealed, including the Descent & Distribution of Real and Personal Property, Probate of Wills, and others too numerous to list at this time. One purpose/goal of the MUPC is to clarify the law, to insure the intent of the decedents is achieved, and to promote speedy and efficient estate liquidation.


While a fiduciary under the "old" law was called an Executrix (if there was a will) or an Administrator (if no will), under the "new" law such fiduciary is now called Personal Representative, whether there is a will or not. Anyone who previously participated in probating an estate of a friend or relative would be well advised to make himself/herself aware of the new law and the new forms.


Another striking change is that the proceedings may be informal, formal, or supervised, with the goal that estates are handled quickly and efficiently, providing protections where appropriate. Therefore, the intent is that most estates will be unsupervised, flexible, and independent, and interested persons, heirs, legatees, devisees, etc., will have procedural and adjudicative safeguards as appropriate in varying circumstances.


The MUPC provides and insures a flexible system with statutory powers enabling the Personal representative with statutory powers to collect, protect, and distribute estate assets without further order of the Court. The Court's role is therefore passive, until and unless some interested person invokes its power to seek a resolution of the matter.


Named fiduciaries, and interested persons, are advised to seek the assistance and counsel of an attorney, as the MUPC presents numerous changes to probating estates within Massachusetts. For more information, forms, and the MUPC statute, please click here.




CORI, otherwise known as Criminal Offender Record Information, is an individual's criminal history. If you have ever been charged with a crime in a Massachusetts state and/or federal court, you have a Massachusetts CORI. You have a CORI whether your charges resulted in a conviction, a dismissal, a finding of not guilty, or some other -outcome. It also includes prior convictions. Individuals under the age of seventeen who have faced charges in the juvenile court system also have a CORI. The Massachusetts CORI does not contain any information as to criminal charges and/or history from other states. Individuals, who have an outstanding 209A restraining order against them also have a CORI, even if there were no violations of such an order(s).


There is a public safety interest in maintaining a criminal database, as these CORI reports help protect public safety by allowing employers, school administrators, and others the ability to view the records to screen out potentially dangerous criminal offenders. However, for those who are not a threat to society, and/or have been found not guilty or had their cases dismissed, CORI records can be a major source of embarrassment, but may also have a longstanding negative impact on employment, housing, and the ability to obtain financing.


On May 4, 2012, significant changes were made to the CORI law, including sealing and unsealing of criminal records. One particular change allows judges to seal CWOFs (Continued Without Finding) upon dismissal. This represents a significant change, as prior to May 4th, such cases could only be sealed by the Commissioner of Probation, and after applicable waiting periods. These and other changes in the law could significantly impact numerous individuals in Probate Court proceedings, as well as in their daily lives as described herein.


Individuals should be aware that it is now standard procedure for the Probation Department in each Probate & Family Court, to review the CORIs of all individuals who participate in mediation, etc. In the past those individuals seeking guardianships always were subject to a CORI review. However, all individuals with pending divorce cases, paternity cases, separate support, etc., are all likely to have their CORIs reviewed and/or presented to the Court. In cases where custody and visitation are contested, an individual's CORI could have a detrimental impact on the outcome of the case, depending on the CORI, the nature of the charges, and/or when the offenses/charges occurred. Individuals with CORIs are well advised to review their CORI, and to seek legal counsel to determine whether any or all of their CORI may be sealed. Information related to this issue may be found by clicking here.


Issue: 33

scales of justice

In This Issue
MUPC Seminar May 11, 2012
What is CORI and How Does It Impact You?
Join Our Mailing List
Need a Speaker?
Questions?  Comments?
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If anyone has a topic that would be of general interest, please do not hesitate to contact the office and let us know what items would be of general interest to the readers of this newsletter.
Susan C. Ryan, Esq.
Law Office of Susan Castleton Ryan, PC
(781) 982-8850

This newsletter is designed to keep you up-to-date with changes in the law.  For help with these or any other legal issues, please call our firm today.
The information in this newsletter is intended solely for your information .  It does not constitute legal advice, and it should not be relied on without a discussion of your specific situation with an attorney.