Atty. Eric D. Correira Quoted by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recently quoted Atty. Eric D. Correira regarding a Massachusetts Appeals Court decision of first impression that a disinherited son’s status as an “interested person” under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) did not give him standing to contest his stepmother’s appointment as personal representative of his father’s estate. In the Matter of the Estate of Birkenfield, the Court held that while a son was an interested person under the MUPC, because he was not a beneficiary of the will and did not contest the validity of the will itself, he did not have standing to then contest the appointment of the named personal representative because he did not have a legal interest in the estate.

From the article, “Swansea attorney Eric D. Correira said the case serves as a reminder that while many clients think they should leave $1 to any family member they wish to disinherit in order to make it harder for that person to argue they were excluded by mistake, that is not a good idea. ‘Even a small bequest gives a person standing to challenge the appointment and actions of the personal representative,’ he said, pointing out that in addition to distributing assets, a personal representative holds the decedent’s attorney-client privilege and right to medical and tax records and decides whether to pursue a claim or prosecute a lawsuit. ‘Instead, the right approach, which is found in Mr. Birkenfeld’s will, is to include wording in the will that clearly and unequivocally disinherits the person.’”

For the full article, click here.