Massachusetts Law Retroactively Giving Inheritance Rights To Adopted Children Ruled Unconstitutional As Applied
August 30, 2012
Authored by: Luke Lantta
Originally published at bryancavefiduciarylitigation.com
Big news out of Massachusetts this week, as the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Bird Anderson v. BNY Mellon, N.A. that a Massachusetts law that had significant implications for trusts and estates planners, fiduciaries, and especially adopted children was unconstitutional as applied to the trust case before it.
Let’s take a look at the law.
The rights of adopted children as “heirs” under Massachusetts law have a long history.
Prior to 1958, Massachusetts had a statute prescribing a rule of construction for certain types of instruments relating to inheritance that provided that unless the contrary “plainly appear[ed] by the terms of the instrument,” an adopted child was excluded from the definition