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Uniform Laws Update

Uniform Laws Update provides information on uniform and model state laws in development as they apply to property, trust, and estate matters. The editors of Probate & Property welcome information and suggestions from readers.

2019 Legislative Update

This edition of Uniform Laws Update reviews the 2019 legislative activity for uniform acts involving real property law and trust and estate law. All enactment data reflects legislative activity from October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019. Any bills enacted after September 30, 2019, will count as part of the 2020 legislative year.

Real Property

The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) creates special procedures for partition actions when the property to be partitioned qualifies as “heirs property.” Heirs property is inherited land owned by relatives as a tenancy-in-common, often without any formal transfer of title. Interest in UPHPA surged after several news organizations reported on families who lost their properties to speculators who forced partition sales at prices below market value and then quickly resold at a profit, depleting the families’ wealth in the process. Congress also passed legislation giving preference for certain federal farm development loans to applicants from states that adopted the uniform act, which Congress recognized as efficacious for resolving title issues and allowing families to retain generational wealth. Illinois, Missouri, and the US Virgin Islands enacted UPHPA in 2019, bringing the total number of enactments to 14. The act passed both houses of the New York legislature and at press time awaits signature from Governor Cuomo. UPHPA bills were also introduced in the District of Columbia, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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