Is the Term “Interested Person” Meant to Be Broadly Defined under Massachusetts Guardianship and Conservatorship Law?

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Brian E. Barreira

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Serving Plymouth, MA

  • Serving Plymouth, MA

  • Fixed hourly rates, Fixed fees available

Attorney at firm Brian E. Barreira

Serving Plymouth, MA

Fixed hourly rates, Fixed fees available

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In the
case of
Guardianship of B.V.G., decided on April 6, 2015, the Massachusetts
Appeals Court took a look at the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (“MUPC”) to
determine whether a grandfather was an interested person who had standing in
the guardianship proceedings. The child’s father was objecting to the
grandfather’s involvement in the guardianship case.

The term
“interested person” in M.G. L. c. 190B, § 1-201(24), the general
definition section of the MUPC, “includes heirs, devisees, children, spouses,
creditors, beneficiaries, and any others having a property right in or claims
against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent, ward, or protected
person.  It also includes persons having priority for appointment as
personal representative, and other fiduciaries representing interested
persons.  The meaning as it relates to particular persons may vary from
time to time and shall be determined according to the particular purposes of,
and matter involved in, any proceeding.”

The
Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled that the terms “interested person,” found in
one part of the law, and “person interested in the welfare of the incapacitated
person,” found elsewhere in the law, were equivalent.  The MUPC, according
to the Court, favors “limited guardianships in order to maximize the liberty
and autonomy of persons subject to guardianship,” and [a]llowing a broader
class of individuals than those with economic interests to press for
limitations on a guardianship furthers that goal.”  Thus, the phrase
“interested person” is meant to broadly defined under Massachusetts
guardianship and conservatorship law.

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