The Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code – Winter 2019

In 2012, the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code (“MUTC”)[1] was adopted and replaced other statutes that previously governed the administration of trusts in Massachusetts. The MUTC applies to trusts that are governed by Massachusetts law, whether created by individuals or by order of a court. It creates methods and procedures that are new to Massachusetts, streamlines administration of trusts, and adds and clarifies trustee duties and responsibilities.

Here are some highlights of the MUTC:

  • Beneficiaries and trustees can now use non-judicial settlement agreements to make certain changes to a trust, so long as the changes do not violate a material purpose of the trust.
  • Pet owners may now establish “Pet Trusts” for the care of animals.
  • The court has expanded powers to modify or terminate trusts.
  • Under MUTC, trusts are revocable unless they state that they are irrevocable, which reverses prior law.
  • The MUTC adds new provisions for trustee removal and resignation. 
  • A new statute of limitations applies to legal actions against trustees.
  • Virtual representation, a concept introduced to Massachusetts law by the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (applicable to testate and intestate probate of estates), is expanded under MUTC. If there is a matter in dispute, it allows anyone who has a substantially identical interest to a party who is a child, an unborn or incapacitated person, or whose identity or location is not known and is not readily ascertainable, to represent that party in the dispute, if there is no conflict of interest.
  • The MUTC clarifies and expands reporting and information requirements for trustees, including requirements to notify beneficiaries and provide trust accounts.

If you serve as trustee, call a member of our Trusts and Estates Department to learn more about your duties and responsibilities.

[1] MGL Chapter 203E

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