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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, April 21, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesDeJongh Signs Probate Bill Into Law

DeJongh Signs Probate Bill Into Law

Noting that the territory’s laws need to be updated and the backlog of cases in the courts reduced, Gov. John deJongh Jr. signed into law Wednesday a voluminous uniform probate bill passed by senators during their last full session.
Uniform bills such as this one are drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, which is made up of a coalition of attorneys, judges and other appointees from various states and territories. Along with seeking to streamline local laws dealing with wills and how estates are settled after death, this bill also contains provisions for a uniform power of attorney, a uniform prudent management of institutional funds act and a uniform custodial trust act.
In a letter sent to Senate President Louis P. Hill, deJongh said he had approved the bill after "careful consideration."
"I am informed that few other jurisdictions have adopted the Uniform Probate Code in whole," he said in the letter. "Indeed, many have tailored only those provisions needed to improve the law and procedures of their states. However, I also realize that our own probate statute desperately needs updating and revision to ameliorate, among other things the tremendous backlog of cases in our courts. Therefore, I am hopeful that many of the provisions of the bill as enacted will be in aid."
DeJongh also noted that the bill, which he described as "far reaching," might not have been sufficiently reviewed or commented on by the public.
"Thus, we can be assured that, given the broad reach and effect of the legislation, concerns will be raised by the community and by those in the legal and accounting professions once the new practice is implemented," he wrote. "We should not be surprised if there is then a call for amendment and specific tailoring of the provisions of the uniform act."
He urged senators to "promptly" consider the public’s concerns once they are raised and to "act without delay to make this law the best it can be for the benefit of our residents."

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