Mississippi Modernizes Trust Law by Adopting the Uniform Trust Code

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the Mississippi Uniform Trust Code into law yesterday.  Click here for the final version.  By doing so, Mississippi became the 27th state (28th if you count DC) to adopt the code (or a trust code substantially derived from it).

Other changes for Mississippi Trust law are on the horizon.

Notably, Mississippi has retained existing Mississippi Spendthrift law codified in the Family Trust Preservation Act of 1998, Sections 91-9-501, et seq.   This act appears to have been modeled on previous versions of the Trust Code.

The Uniform Trust Code (“UTC”) brings a lot to the table.  Some of the most vexing issues in Trust Law are squarely addressed by the code.  These issues include who represents the interests of minor trust beneficiaries?  Under old law, we would oftentimes need a Guardian ad litem.  No offense to Guardians ad litem (I have often served in this role myself), but I’d rather not need you.  The UTC’s answer is “virtual representation” under part 3: the kid’s parent! (and in the words of the kid. . . Duh!)

Likewise, with the authority under the UTC, practitioners can resolve a great many issues without the necessity of a court through § 111 “Nonjudicial Settlement Agreements.”  If not, well we’ll just judicially modify the trust under § 411.

All in all, I think I can speak on behalf of Mississippi practitioners when I say that the UTC is very welcome in Mississippi.

P.S.: Mississippi practitioners, the UTC works best when all beneficiaries are on the same page.  You still need decanting!  But, guess what: if the Trustee can invade trust principal, Mississippi Trusts can be decanted if the trust is administered in Tennessee (Call me!).  See TCA § 35-15-816(b)(27)(I).

Stay Tuned.

Rob Malin

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