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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1642         FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1475

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Paul J. Donato

_______________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to reciprocal benefits contracts.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Paul J. Donato

35th Middlesex

James J. Dwyer

30th Middlesex

Carlo Basile

1st Suffolk

George N. Peterson, Jr.

9th Worcester

Angelo M. Scaccia

14th Suffolk

John J. Binienda

17th Worcester

Ryan C. Fattman

18th Worcester

Kevin J. Kuros

8th Worcester

Sheila C. Harrington

1st Middlesex

Joyce A. Spiliotis

12th Essex

Stephen Stat Smith

28th Middlesex

Elizabeth A. Poirier

14th Bristol

James J. Lyons, Jr.

18th Essex

Viriato Manuel deMacedo

1st Plymouth


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1642        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1475

By Mr. Donato of Medford, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1475) of Paul J. Donato and others relative to reciprocal benefits contracts.  Public Health. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Eleven

_______________

 

An Act relative to reciprocal benefits contracts.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1.   Chapter 111 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after Section 72Y the following section:--

             

              Section 72Z.  The reciprocal beneficiary (as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E) of a patient in a health care facility shall have the right to visit the patient during normal visiting hours, provided the patient does not object.

              SECTION 2.  Section 8 of Chapter 113 of the General Laws, as so appearing is hereby amended by striking out in lines 24 to 30 inclusive the following:--

              (1)              the spouse,

              (2)              an adult son or daughter,

              (3)              either parent,

              (4)              an adult brother or sister,

              (5)              a guardian of the person of the decedent at the time of his death,

              (6)              any other person authorized or under obligation to dispose of the body.

              And inserting in place thereof the following:--

              (1)              the spouse

              (2)              {the reciprocal beneficiary, as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E},

              (3)              an adult son or daughter,

              (4)              either parent,

              (5)              an adult brother or sister,

              (6)              a guardian of the person of the decedent at the time of his death,

              (7)              any other person authorized or under obligation to dispose of the body.

              SECTION 3.  Section 13 of said Chapter 113, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “body” in line 8 the following including the surviving reciprocal beneficiary as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E.

              SECTION 4.  Chapter 114, of the General Laws, is hereby amended by inserting after Section 44A the following Section 44B:--

              (1)              Any individual of sound mind who is 18 years of age or older, by completion of a written signed instrument or by preparing of prearranging with any licensed funeral service practitioner, may direct any lawful manner of disposition of the individual’s remains.  Except as provided under subsection (6) of this section, disposition directions or disposition prearrangements that are prepaid or that are filed with a licensed funeral service practitioner shall not be subject to cancellation or substantial revision.

              (2)              A person within the first applicable listed class among the following listed classes that is available at the time of death or, in the absence of actual notice of a contrary direction by the decedent as described under subsection (1) of this section or actual notice of opposition by completion of a written instrument by a member of the same class or a member of a prior class, may direct any lawful manner of disposition of a decedent’s remains by completion of a written instrument:--

              (1)              the spouse,

              (2)              {the reciprocal beneficiary, as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E},

              (3)              an adult son or daughter,

              (4)              either parent,

              (5)              an adult brother or sister,

              (6)              a guardian of the person of the decedent at the time of his death.

              (7)              any other person authorized or under obligation to dispose of the body.

              (3)              The decedent or any person authorized in subsection (2) of this section to direct the manner of disposition of the decedent’s remains may delegate such authority to any person 18 years of age or older.  Such delegation shall be made by completion of the written instrument.  The signature of the individual delegating his or her authority shall be required for the completion of the written instrument.  The person to whom the authority is delegated shall have the same authority under subsection (2) of this section as the person delegating the authority.

              (4)              If a decedent or the decedent’s designee issued more than one authorization or direction for the disposal of the decedent’s remains, only the most recent authorization or direction shall be binding.

              (5)              A donation of anatomical gifts under Section 8 of Chapter 113, shall take priority over directions for the disposition of a decedent’s remains under this section only if the person making the donation is of a priority under subsection (1) or (2) of this section the same as or higher than the priority of the person directing the disposition of the remains.

              (6)              If the decedent had directed a disposition under subsection (1) of this section and those financially responsible for the disposition are without sufficient funds to pay for such disposition, or the estate of the decedent has insufficient funds to pay for the disposition, or if the direction is unlawful, the direction shall be void and disposition shall be in accordance with the direction provided by those persons given priority in subsection (2) of this section and who agree to be financially responsible.

              (7)              Subject to the provisions of Chapter 113, if disposition of the remains of a decedent has not been directed and authorized under this section within 10 days after the date of the death of the decedent, a public health officer may direction and authorize disposition of the remains.

              SECTION 5.  Section 25 of Chapter 123 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “relative” in line 6 the following:-- or reciprocal beneficiary as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E.

              SECTION 6.  Section 26 of said Chapter 123, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “relative” in lines 41 and 43, in each instance the following:-- reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 7.  Section 27 of said Chapter 123, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “relative” in line 3 the following:-- or reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 8.  Section 30 of said Chapter 123, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “kin” in line 4 the following:-- or reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 9.  Section 35 of said Chapter 123, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “guardian” in line 12 the following:-- reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 10.  Section 108 of Chapter 175 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “policy holder” in line 32 the following:--  including a reciprocal beneficiary as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E.

              SECTION 11.  Section 110, subsection (E) of said Chapter 175, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “thereunder” the following:-- including reciprocal beneficiaries.

              SECTION 12.  Section 110C of said Chapter 175, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “residents” in line 8 the following:--  and reciprocal beneficiaries as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E.

              SECTION 13.  Section 110G of said Chapter 175, as so appearing is hereby amended by inserting after the word “dependents” in line 7, 9, 10, 14, 16, 19, 31, 47, in each instance the following:-- or reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 13A.  Section 111G of said Chapter 175, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “age” the following:-- or reciprocal beneficiary as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E.

              SECTION 14.  Section 113O of said Chapter 175, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “employee” in line 128 the following:-- or reciprocal beneficiary as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E.

              SECTION 15.  Section 132A of said Chapter 175, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “children” in line 42 and after the word “members” in line 46 the following:-- and surviving reciprocal beneficiaries.

              SECTION 16.  Section 133 of said Chapter 175, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the fourth paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:--

              Any group life insurance policy issued under the provisions of this section, except a policy insuring the lives of debtors in accordance with clause (c) may also insure the dependents of employees, or members or other persons insured thereunder, {including reciprocal beneficiaries}, and the employees or members or other persons {or reciprocal beneficiaries} may contribute part or all of the premium for such insurance.  Notwithstanding provision 4 of Section 134, only one certificate need be issued for delivery to, an insured person if a statement concerning any dependents’ coverage is included in such certificate.  Upon termination of the insurance with respect to the spouse {or reciprocal beneficiary}of any employee by reason of the employee’s termination of employment or death, the spouse {or reciprocal beneficiary} insured pursuant to this section shall have the same conversion rights as to the insurance on his or her life as is provided for the employee under provision 4 of said Section 134.

              SECTION 17.  Section 134 of said Chapter 175, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “sisters” in line 93 the following:-- or reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 18.  Chapter 184 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after Section 7 the following section:--

              Section 7A.  Every conveyance or devise of lands, or interest therein, made to reciprocal beneficiaries as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E, or to executors or trustees, creates a tenancy in common unless it is in some manner clearly and expressly declared in the conveyance or devise that the grantees or devisees take the lands with right of survivorship.  Such a declaration of a right to survivorship shall create a joint tenancy with survivorship.

              SECTION 19.  The second paragraph of Section 1 of Chapter 188 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:--

              For the purposes of this chapter, an owner of a home shall include a sole owner, joint tenant, tenant by the entirety or tenant in common; provided, that only one owner may acquire an estate of homestead in any such home for the benefit of his family {or for the benefit of his reciprocal beneficiary as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E}; and provided further, that an estate of homestead may be required on only one principal residence for the benefit of a family {or for the benefit of a reciprocal beneficiary}.

              SECTION 20.  Section 4 of said Chapter 188, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:--

              The estate of homestead existing at the death of a person holding a homestead shall continue for the benefit of the surviving spouse and minor children {or reciprocal beneficiary} and shall be held and enjoyed by them, if one of them or a purchaser under Section 8 occupies the premises, until the youngest unmarried child is 18 and until the marriage or death of the spouse {or reciprocal beneficiary}; and if a widow or minor children are entitled to an estate of homestead as provided herein, it may be set off to them in the same manner as dower.

              SECTION 21.  Section 6 of said Chapter 188, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “spouse” in lines 8 and 9, in each instance the following:-- reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 22.   Section 7 of said Chapter 188, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “spouse” in lines 4 and 7, in each instance the following:-- reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 23.  Section 8 of said Chapter 188, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “spouse” in lines 1, 4 and 6, in each instance the following:-- or surviving reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 24.  Said Section 8 of said Chapter 188, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “them” in line 8 the following:--  or surviving reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 25.  Section 1 of Chapter 190 of the General Laws, as so appearing is hereby amended by inserting after the word “wife” in line 1 the following:--  or reciprocal beneficiary as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E.

              SECTION 26.  Said Section 1 of said Chapter 190, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “wife” in lines 9 and 17, in each instance the following:--  or reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 27.  Section 3 of said Chapter 190, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “children” in line 5 the following:-- or reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 28.  Said Section 3 of said Chapter 190, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “husband” in line 29 the following:--  or reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 29.  Chapter 191 of the General Court is hereby amended by inserting after Section 9 the following section—

              Section 9A.  The registration of a person as a reciprocal beneficiary, in accordance with Section 5 of Chapter 209E shall act as a revocation of a will made by him previous to registration unless it appears from the will that it was made in contemplation thereof.  If the will is made in the exercise of a power of appointment and the real and personal property subject to the appointment would not, without the appointment, pass to the persons who would have been entitled to it if it had been the estate and property of the testator making the appointment and he had died intestate, so much of the will as makes the appointment shall not be revoked by registration as a reciprocal beneficiary

              If, after executing a will, the testator shall terminate his or her “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract,” as provided by Section 6 of Chapter 209E, such termination shall revoke any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the formal reciprocal beneficiary, any provision conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former reciprocal beneficiary, and any nomination of the former reciprocal beneficiary, as executor, trustee, conservator or guardian, unless the will shall expressly provide otherwise.  If provisions shall be revoked solely by this section, they shall be revived by the testator’s re-registration as a party to a new “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” with the former reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 30.  Chapter 196 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out Section 1 and inserting in place thereof the following:--

              Section 1.  Articles of apparel and ornaments of the surviving spouse, minor children {or surviving reciprocal beneficiary, as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E} of a deceased person shall belong to them respectively.  The surviving spouse {or surviving reciprocal beneficiary} may remain in the house of a deceased spouse {or deceased reciprocal beneficiary} for not more than six months next succeeding the death without being chargeable for rent.

              SECTION 31.  Section 2 of said Chapter 196, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “spouse” in line 3 the following:--  or surviving reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 32.  Section 2 of said Chapter 196, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting the word “spouse” in line 4, each time it appears the following:--  or reciprocal beneficiary.

              SECTION 33.  Section 3 of said Chapter 196, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the last sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:--

              The widow or surviving reciprocal beneficiary shall be entitled only to his or her share in the residence after deducting the value of the advancement.

              SECTION 34.  Section 3 of Chapter 201D of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following:--  or unless both parties are signatories to a valid reciprocal beneficiaries contract as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E.

              SECTION 35.  The third paragraph of Section 7 of said Chapter 201D is hereby amended by adding the following:--  or (iii) the termination of Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract, in accordance with Section 6 of Chapter 209E, between the principal and his reciprocal beneficiary, where the reciprocal beneficiary is the principal’s agent under a health care proxy.

              SECTION 36.  Section 17 of said Chapter 201D, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “principal” in line 3 the following:--  or reciprocal beneficiary as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E.

              SECTION 36a.  Section 1 of Chapter 228 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding after the word “guardian”  the following:--  or reciprocal beneficiary as defined in Section 1 of Chapter 209E.

              SECTION 37.  The General Laws are hereby amended by inserting after Chapter 209D the following chapter:--

              CHAPTER 209E

              RECIPROCAL BENEFICIARY CONTRACTS.

              SECTION 1.  As used in this chapter the following words, unless the context requires otherwise, shall have the following meanings:--

              “Former reciprocal beneficiary” a party to a prior “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” which has since been terminated in accordance with Section 6.

              “Notice of Termination of Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” a form, signed by a party to a valid “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” indicating his or her intention to terminate the operation of a “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” and filed in accordance with Section 6.

              “Reciprocal beneficiary” an adult who meets the eligibility requirements as defined in Section 2 and who is a party to a valid “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract.”

              “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” a form, signed by two eligible adults, who meet the requirements of Section 2, and registered in accordance with Section 5, indicating the contractual agreement between the two adults to share certain rights and benefits enumerated in the Act.

              “Secretary” the Secretary of State.

              SECTION 2.  In order to enter into a valid “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract,” it shall be necessary that:--

              a.              each of the parties be at least 18 years of age and legally competent;

              b.              each of the parties be a legal resident of the Commonwealth;

              c.              neither of the parties be married, nor a party to another “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract”;

              d.              the parties be legally prohibited from marrying one another under Chapter 207 of the General Laws;

              e.              consent of either party to the “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” has not been obtained by force, duress, or fraud;

              f.              “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form must be signed by both parties and filed as specified in Section 5.

              SECTION 3.  The Secretary of State may promulgate rules and regulations regarding the implementation of this chapter.

              SECTION 4.  Forms:--

              a.              The Secretary shall prepare and make available the form entitled “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract”.  This form shall state the eligibility requirements, and require each person who wants to become a party to a “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” to:--

              1).              State that he or she desires to enter into a legally binding contractual agreement to share certain benefits and obligations enumerated in this chapter;

              2).              State that he or she meets the requirements of Section 2 at the time the form is signed and notarized;

              3).              Provide a mailing address;

              4).              Provide a social security number;

              5).              Sign the form with a declaration that representations made therein are true, correct, and contain no material omissions of fact to the best knowledge and belief of each declarant;

              6).              Have a notary public certify both signatures;

              7).              File the document with the Secretary.

                           

              b.              The Secretary shall also prepare and make available the form entitled “Notice of Termination of Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract”.  This form shall require each person who wants to terminate a valid “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” to:--

              1).              Provide the date and the registration number of the original “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract”;

              2).              State that he, she or they desire to terminate the operation of the existing “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract”;

              3).              Provide both parties most recent mailing addresses;

              4).              Provide both parties social security numbers;

              5).              Sign the form with a declaration that representations made there are true, correct, and contain no material omissions of fact to the best knowledge and belief of the declarant(s);

              6)              Have a notary public certify his, her or their signature(s);

              7)              File the document with the Secretary.

              SECTION 5.  Two people who meet the criteria set out in Section 2 of this chapter may register their contractual agreement to become reciprocal beneficiaries by filing a completed, signed and notarized “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” from with the Secretary.

                            The Secretary shall set and collect a fee for filing the “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form, which shall be deposited in the General Fund.

                            Upon receipt of a completed, signed, notarized “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form and the filing fee, the Secretary shall register the contractual agreement, assign the parties a registration number and forward a copy of the “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form to each party named on the form by first class mail.  A signed and notarized “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form shall constitute a public record.

                            The Secretary shall maintain a record of each “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form filed with the Secretary.  The Secretary may make the information contained in the “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form available to such state or federal agencies as may be required by state or federal law.

                            The Secretary shall maintain a process whereby “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contracts” and marriage licenses are cross-referenced for the purpose of this chapter.

              SECTION 6.  Either party to a “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” may terminate the agreement by filing a completed, signed, notarized “Notice of Termination of Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” with the Secretary.

                            Upon receipt of a completed, signed, notarized “Notice of Termination of Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form and the filing fee, the Secretary shall register the “Notice of Termination of Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract “ form and forward a copy of the “Notice of Termination of Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form to each party’s most recently know address by first class mail.  Termination of the “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” shall become effective 30 days after the date of Notice is registered by the Secretary, unless the party or parties filing the Notice of Termination withdraw the termination form by notifying the Secretary in writing.

                            The Secretary shall set and collect a fee for filing the “Notice of Termination of Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form which shall be deposited into the General Fund.  The Secretary shall also maintain a record of each filed “Notice of Termination of Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form, cross referenced with marriage licenses for the purpose of this chapter.

                            When a marriage license is issued to either party to a “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” or when a party to a “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” enters into a marriage, the “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” shall be deemed terminated and the rights and obligations provided to the parties under this chapter shall no longer be available.

              SECTION 7.  Upon registration of the “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract” form, “Reciprocal Beneficiary” rights and obligations shall be limited to the provisions contained in this chapter.  Such provisions shall be narrowly interpreted, and nothing in this chapter shall be construed nor implied to create or extend rights or benefits no specifically provided here.

              SECTION 8.  If any provisions of this chapter, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions of applications of the chapter, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.

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