The Impact of the Uniform Probate Code on Court Structure

After considering the present pattern of probate court structure in the United States, this article considers the need for probate court reform as reflected in the deficiencies of the present system. It further indicates that a realistic choice of court structure by legislatures will ultimately be made from among three options: (1) to enlarge the jurisdiction of the present probate court of the state more nearly to approximate the form currently obtaining in several states; (2) to appoint a new body of probate judges and thus create an entirely new court; and (3) to enlarge the jurisdiction of the present general trial court to include all matters cognizable under the Code. In choosing among these alternatives care must be taken to understand the nature of the probate situation in each state so that a practical solution will take into account reasonable objections to systemic reforms by interested parties such as current officeholders.