PMWJ S.B. 506 75(R) BILL ANALYSIS JUDICIAL AFFAIRS S.B. 506 By: Brown (Thompson) 4-2-97 Committee Report (Unamended) BACKGROUND Currently, Texas law requires the social security number of the decedent and of the applicant to be included in all applications for letters testamentary or letters of administration. Requiring the disclosure of social security numbers in documents which become public records is viewed as unnecessarily intrusive to a person's right to privacy and gives rise to the potential for misuse of those numbers by persons who would not otherwise have access to them. In addition, a personal representative of an estate does not have the right to abandon property. S.B. 506 will remove the requirement that the social security number of the decedent and the applicant be included in all applications for letters testamentary or letters of administration, but will authorize the court to request that information. This bill will also give personal representatives, independent executors, and independent administrators the right to abandon worthless property. PURPOSE S.B. 506 deletes the requirement that the social security number of the decedent and the applicant be included in all applications for letters testamentary or letters of administration, but authorizes the court to request that information, and will give personal representatives, independent executors, and independent administrators the right to abandon worthless property. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1 amends Section 36, Probate Code, to authorize the court to request an applicant or court-appointed fiduciary to produce other information identifying an applicant, decedent, or personal representative, including social security numbers, in addition to identifying information the applicant or fiduciary is required to produce under this code. Requires the court to maintain the information required under this subsection, and prohibits the information from being filed with the clerk. SECTION 2 amends Section 42(b)(1), Probate Code, to make conforming changes to references to new section numbers in the Family Code. It provides that a child, for the purpose of inheritance, is the child of his biological father if the child is born under circumstances described by Section 151.002, rather than 12.02, Family Code, is adjudicated to be the child of the father by court decree as provided by Chapter 160, rather than 13, Family Code, or if the father executed a statement of paternity as provided by Section 160.202, rather than 13.22, Family Code. SECTION 3 amends Section 69(a), Probate Code, to require, if, after making a will, the testator is divorced or the testator's marriage is annulled, all provisions in the the will in favor of the testator's former spouse, or appointing such spouse to any fiduciary capacity under the will or with respect to the estate or person of the testator's children, to be read as if the former spouse failed to survive the testator. SECTION 4 deletes Section 81(a)(9), Probate Code, the requirement that an application for probate of a written will must state the social security number of the applicant and of the decedent. Renumbers (a)(10) as (a)(9). SECTION 5 deletes Section 82(i), Probate Code, the requirement that an application for letters of administration when no will is alleged to exist must state the social security number of the applicant and of the decedent if known. Makes a conforming change. SECTION 6 amends Section 146(b), Probate Code, and adds new Subsections (d) and (e). Subsec. (b) is amended to change "notify...by certified or registered mail" to "give notice to;" notice requirements are detailed in new Subsec. (e). New Subsec. (d), Notice Required of Unsecured Creditor, requires an unsecured creditor who has a claim for money against an estate and receives a notice under Section 294(d) of this code to give notice to the independent executor of the nature and amount of the claim not later than the 120th day after the date on which the notice is received, or the claim is barred. New Subsec. (e), Placement of Notice, provides that the notice required by Subsections (b) and (d) of this section must be in a writing that is hand-delivered with proof of receipt, mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, in a filed pleading in a lawsuit with respect to the claim, or in a writing or pleading filed in the court in which administration of the estate is pending. SECTION 7 adds a new Subdivision (6) to Section 234(a), Probate Code, to authorize a personal representative to abandon the administration of property of the estate that is burdensome or worthless. Authorizes abandoned real or personal property to be foreclosed by a secured party, trustee, or mortgagee without further court order. SECTION 8 amends Section 281, Probate Code, to require certain exempt property to be liable for the payment of Class 1 claims, rather than the funeral expenses and the expenses of last sickness of the deceased, when claims are presented within the time prescribed therefor. SECTION 9 amends Section 290, Probate Code, to require that the family allowance shall be paid in preference to other claims except Class 1 claims, rather than the funeral expenses and the expenses of last sickness of the deceased. SECTION 10 amends Section 299, Probate Code, to provide that the general statutes of limitation are tolled on (1) the date a claim for money is filed or deposited with the clerk, rather than by filing a claim which is legally allowed and approved or (2) on the date a suit is brought against the personal representative of an estate with respect to a claim of the estate that is not required to be presented to the personal representative, rather than by bringing a suit upon a rejected and disapproved claim within ninety days after such rejection or disapproval. SECTION 11 amends Sections 306(e), (f), (i), and (j), Probate Code, to require the court, if the representative defaults in such payment of performance, on application of the claim holder, to authorize foreclosure by the claim holder as prescribed by Subsections (f) through (k) of this section. Requires an application by a claimholder under Subsection (e) of this section, rather than if the court authorizes a claimholder, to foreclose the claimholder's lien or security interest on certain property to be supported by affidavit of the claimholder containing certain information. Requires the court, if the court finds at a hearing that there is a default in payment or performance under the contract that secures the payment of the claim, to take certain actions. Requires the court, when the court grants a claimholder the right to foreclosure, to authorize, rather than enter an order granting permission, the claimholder to foreclose the claimholder's mortgage, lien, or security interest. Makes conforming changes. SECTION 12. Effective date. Application of act. SECTION 13. Emergency clause.