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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: February 13, 2013 02:38 PM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Probate Estates and Fiduciaries Code (Title 20) omnibus amendments
In June 2010 the Joint State Government Commission issued a report entitled, “The Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code: Proposed Amendments to Title 20 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.” The Advisory Committee on Decedents’ Estates Laws periodically recommends updates to the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code based on court cases and changes in federal law. The June 2010 report reflects the advisory committee’s most recent set of omnibus revisions to Title 20.

This legislation contains changes that were included in Senate Bill 96 of last session. The provisions in Senate Bill 96 that addressed issues relating to powers of attorney are not included in this legislation because of the reintroduction of Senate Bill 1092. The changes that are included in this legislation address several other issues, for example they:
  • Codify the Charitable Instruments Act of 1971 as new 20 Pa.C.S. Chapter 79.
  • Make additional changes to the Uniform Trust Act.
  • Add Chapter 76 regarding powers of appointment.
  • Clarify provisions relating to when and how an estate may form a business entity.
  • Establish a new statutory framework regarding the release of powers and interests and the disclaimer of powers.
  • Clarify when a person submits to the jurisdiction of the orphan’s court.
  • Provide a method for determining title to a decedent’s interest in real estate.

The Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Decedents’ Estates Laws is a standing group of attorneys and judges from across the Commonwealth who assist the General Assembly by recommending improvements to the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code and related statutes. The advisory committee has been in existence since 1945 and is credited with drafting most of the laws relating to trusts and estates. After reaching consensus on its legislative recommendations, the advisory committee presents its recommendations to the Task Force on Decedents’ Estates Laws, which is a bicameral and bipartisan panel of legislators.

The Joint State Government Commission reports contain the advisory committee’s official comments explaining each amendment. The comments may be used in determining legislative intent.

Introduced as SB621