August 29, 2012
In late July, the Uniform Law Commission approved the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act (UPMAA) at its annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. The Act provides clarified enforcement standards and procedural safeguards for premarital and martial agreements. Harvard Law School Professor Robert H. Sitkoff, whose primary research focus is economic and empirical analysis of the law of trusts and estates, served on the drafting committee for the Act.
Established in 1892, the Uniform Law Commission provides states with models for non-partisan legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law. Among the Commission’s many contributions are the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, and the Uniform Trust Code.
The general approach of the UPMAA is that parties should be free, within broad limits, to choose the financial terms of their marriages. The limits are those of a fair process and access to information, on the one hand, and certain minimal standards of substantive fairness, on the other.
Earlier this year, the American Law Institute elected Sitkoff to join its Council. The Council serves as the governing body of the ALI, the leading independent organization in the U.S. producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law.
Sitkoff has long been active in law reform. In addition to his position on the ALI Council, he has served under gubernatorial appointment as a Uniform Law Commissioner from Massachusetts since 2008. Last year, Sitkoff was named to the ULC’s drafting committee for the Uniform Act on Powers of Appointment. Within the ULC, Sitkoff is also a liaison member of the Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Trusts and Estates Acts, and he previously served as the reporter (principal drafter) for the Uniform Statutory Trust Entity Act.
The youngest chaired professor with tenure in the history of Harvard Law School, Sitkoff previously taught at New York University School of Law and at Northwestern University School of Law. Sitkoff’s work has been published in leading scholarly journals such as the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, and the Journal of Law and Economics. Sitkoff is a co-author of Wills, Trusts, and Estates (Aspen 8th ed. 2009), the leading American coursebook on trusts and estates. He is the editor of the Wills, Trusts, and Estates abstracting journal of the Social Science Research Network and is an academic Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Further information on the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act can be found on the ULC’s website.