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  • Acts
  • 2006
  • Chapter 270 AN ACT RELATIVE TO JUDGES AND REGISTERS OF PROBATE.

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 215 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 38, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:—

Section 38. Oaths required in proceedings in the probate courts may be administered by the judge, register, first assistant register, assistant register, judicial case manager, assistant judicial case manager or session clerk in or out of court or by a justice of the peace or notary public and, when administered out of court, a certificate thereof shall be returned and filed or recorded with the proceedings, but the judge may require any such oath to be taken before him in open court.

SECTION 2. Chapter 217 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out sections 23 to 23B, inclusive, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following 5 sections:—

Section 23. The register of the respective courts of the probate and family court department may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, appoint for a term of 3 years and may, with the approval of the chief justice, remove a first assistant register of probate. Before entering upon the performance of his duties, a first assistant register shall take the oath prescribed by the constitution. The appointments shall be as follows:

Essex, 1 first assistant register
Middlesex, 1 first assistant register
Norfolk, 1 first assistant register
Suffolk, 1 first assistant register
Worcester, 1 first assistant register.

Those persons serving as first assistant registers in the Barnstable, Berkshire, Bristol, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk divisions of the probate and family court department shall become judicial case managers for a term of 3 years pursuant to section 23C in their respective courts.

Section 23A. In addition to the first assistant registers of probate provided for in section 23, the registers of the respective courts of the probate and family court department for the following counties may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, appoint for terms of 3 years and may, with the approval of the chief justice, remove assistant registers with the same powers and duties. The appointments shall be as follows:

Barnstable, 1 assistant register
Berkshire, 1 assistant register
Bristol, 1 assistant register
Franklin, 1 assistant register
Hampden, 1 assistant register
Hampshire, 1 assistant register
Middlesex, 1 assistant register
Plymouth, 1 assistant register
Suffolk, 1 assistant register.

Those persons serving as assistant registers in the Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester divisions of the probate and family court department shall become assistant judicial case managers pursuant to section 23D in their respective court.
Section 23B. The registers of probate of the respective courts of the probate and family court department for the following counties may, subject to the approval of the chief justice for administration and management as to compliance with personnel standards promulgated pursuant to section 8 of chapter 211B, appoint 1 or more administrative deputy assistants; provided, however, that administrative deputy assistants may be removed at the pleasure of the registers of probate. The administrative deputy assistants shall meet the definition of both confidential and managerial employees as those terms appear in chapter 150E and shall perform no official judicial duties. The appointments shall be as follows:

Barnstable, 1 administrative deputy assistant
Essex, 1 administrative deputy assistant
Middlesex, 4 administrative deputy assistants
Norfolk, 1 administrative deputy assistant
Plymouth, 1 administrative deputy assistant
Suffolk, 2 administrative deputy assistants
Worcester, 2 administrative deputy assistants.

Section 23C. The first justice of the respective courts of the probate and family court department may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, appoint for terms of 3 years and may, with the approval of the chief justice, remove a judicial case manager. Before entering upon the performance of his duties, a judicial case manager shall take the oath prescribed by the constitution. The appointments shall be as follows:

Barnstable, 1 judicial case manager
Berkshire, 1 judicial case manager
Bristol, 1 judicial case manager
Essex, 1 judicial case manager
Franklin, 1 judicial case manager
Hampden, 1 judicial case manager
Hampshire, 1 judicial case manager
Middlesex, 1 judicial case manager
Norfolk, 1 judicial case manager
Plymouth, 1 judicial case manager
Suffolk, 1 judicial case manager
Worcester, 1 judicial case manager.

Section 23D. In addition to the judicial case managers of the probate and family court provided for in section 23C, the first justices of the respective courts of the probate and family court department for the following counties may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, appoint and may, with the approval of the chief justice, remove assistant judicial case managers with the same powers and duties. The appointments shall be as follows:

Barnstable, 3 assistant judicial case managers
Bristol, 7 assistant judicial case managers
Essex, 5 assistant judicial case managers
Franklin, 1 assistant judicial case manager
Hampden, 3 assistant judicial case managers
Hampshire, 1 assistant judicial case manager
Middlesex, 6 assistant judicial case managers
Norfolk, 5 assistant judicial case managers
Plymouth, 5 assistant judicial case managers
Suffolk, 5 assistant judicial case managers
Worcester, 6 assistant judicial case managers.

SECTION 3. Said chapter 217 is hereby further amended by striking out sections 27 to 29I, inclusive, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following 16 sections:-

Section 27. An assistant register shall perform his duties under the direction of the register and shall pay over to the register all fees and amounts received as such assistant. He may authenticate papers and perform such other duties as are not performed by the register. In case of the absence, neglect, removal, resignation or death of the register, the assistant may complete and attest any records remaining unfinished and may act as register until a new register is qualified or the disability removed.

Section 27A. A judicial case manager and an assistant judicial case manager shall perform his duties under the direction of the first justice and shall pay over to the register all fees and amounts received as such assistant. He may authenticate papers and perform such other duties as are not performed by the register, at the direction of the first justice.

Section 28. The first justice of the Suffolk county court may, subject to the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, appoint a clerk who may administer the oaths required in probate proceedings that are not prescribed by law to be administered by the judge or register and shall perform such clerical and other duties as may be required by the first justice. The clerk may be removed by the first justice, with the approval of the chief justice. The register of probate may designate 6 employees as deputy assistant registers with the same powers as assistant registers and may revoke such designation at will. A deputy assistant register shall receive as additional compensation an amount equal to 15 per cent of the annual salary of the Suffolk county register of probate. The register may designate 6 employees as associate deputy registers who shall have the powers of assistant registers and receive as additional compensation an amount equal to 7.5 per cent of the salary paid to the register. The register may revoke any such designation at will.

Section 29. The first justice of the Middlesex county court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, appoint a clerk who may administer the oaths required in probate proceedings that are not prescribed by law to be administered by the judge or register and shall perform such clerical and other duties as may be required by the first justice. The clerk may be removed by the first justice with the approval of the chief justice. The register may, with the approval of the chief justice, designate 6 employees as deputy assistant registers with the same powers as assistant registers and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant registers shall receive additional compensation in an amount equal to 15 per cent of the annual salary of the Middlesex county register of probate.

Section 29A. The first justice of the Dukes county court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, appoint a clerk who may administer the oaths required in probate proceedings that are not prescribed by law to be administered by the judge or register and shall perform such clerical and other duties as may be required by the first justice, with the approval of the chief justice. The clerk may be removed by the first justice with the approval of the chief justice. The register may, with the approval of the chief justice, designate 1 employee as deputy assistant register and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant register shall receive additional compensation in an amount equal to 15 per cent of the annual salary of the Dukes county register of probate.

Section 29B. The first justice for the Nantucket county court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, appoint a clerk who may administer the oaths required in probate proceedings that are not prescribed by law to be administered by the judge or register, and shall perform such clerical and other duties as may be required by the first justice, with the approval of the chief justice. The clerk may be removed by the first justice with the approval of the chief justice. The register may, with the approval of the chief justice, designate 1 employee as deputy assistant register and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant register shall receive additional compensation in an amount equal to 15 per cent of the annual salary of the Nantucket county register of probate.

Section 29C. The register of the Barnstable probate court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, designate 3 employees as deputy assistant registers with the same powers as assistant registers and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. A deputy assistant register shall receive additional compensation of $6,000.

Section 29D. The register of the Berkshire probate court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, designate 1 employee as deputy assistant register with the same powers as assistant register and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant register shall receive additional compensation of $6,000.

Section 29E. The register of the Hampden probate court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, designate 6 employees as deputy assistant registers with the same powers as assistant registers and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant registers shall receive additional compensation of $6,000.

Section 29F. The register of the Worcester probate and family court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, designate 6 employees as deputy assistant registers with the same powers as assistant registers and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant register shall receive additional compensation in an amount equal to 15 per cent of the annual salary of the Worcester county register of probate.

Section 29G. The register of the Bristol probate and family court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, designate 3 employees as deputy assistant registers with the same powers as assistant registers and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant registers shall receive in addition to their salaries as employees, a salary of $6,000 per annum.

Section 29H. The register of the Hampshire probate and family court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, designate 3 employees as deputy assistant registers with the same powers as assistant registers and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant registers shall receive additional compensation in an amount equal to 15 per cent of the annual salary of the Hampshire county register of probate.

Section 29I. The register of the Plymouth probate and family court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, designate 5 employees as deputy assistant registers with the same powers as assistant registers and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant registers shall receive in addition to their salaries as employees, a salary of $6,000 per annum.

Section 29J. The register of the Essex probate and family court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, designate 1 employee as deputy assistant register with the same powers as an assistant register and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant register shall receive additional compensation in an amount equal to 15 per cent of the annual salary of the Essex county register of probate.

Section 29K. The register of the Franklin probate and family court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, designate 1 employee as deputy assistant register with the same powers as an assistant register and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant register shall receive in addition to his salary as an employee, a salary of $6,000 per annum.

Section 29L. The register of the Norfolk probate and family court may, with the approval of the chief justice of the probate and family court, designate 1 employee as deputy assistant register with the same powers as an assistant register and with the approval of the chief justice remove a deputy assistant register. The deputy assistant register shall receive additional compensation in an amount equal to 15 per cent of the annual salary of the Norfolk county register of probate.

SECTION 4. Said chapter 217 is hereby further amended by striking out sections 35 to 35B, inclusive, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following 3 sections:-

Section 35. The salaries of registers, including administrative deputy assistants, judicial case managers, assistant judicial case managers, first assistant registers and assistant registers shall be paid by the commonwealth.

Section 35A. The salaries of the registers of the probate and family court department shall be 81.57 per cent of the salary of the chief justice of the department and shall be paid, subject to appropriation, by the commonwealth. The registers of probate shall devote their entire time during business hours to their respective duties and shall not directly or indirectly engage in the practices of law.

Section 35B. The salaries of first assistant registers, judicial case managers and administrative deputy assistants of the probate and family court department shall be 83.5 per cent of the salary of the registers pursuant to section 35A and shall be paid by the commonwealth. The salaries of assistant registers and assistant judicial case managers shall be 77 per cent of the salary of the registers of the department pursuant to section 35A and shall be paid, subject to appropriation, by the commonwealth.

The first assistant registers, assistant registers, judicial case managers and assistant judicial case managers of probate shall devote their entire time during business hours to their respective duties and shall not directly or indirectly engage in the practice of law.

SECTION 5. Said chapter 217 is hereby further amended by striking out section 42, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 42. Judges, registers, judicial case managers, assistant judicial case managers, first assistant registers and assistant registers shall receive from the commonwealth their actual and proper traveling expenses incurred by them in the performance of their official duties in holding and attending court at a place other than that where the registry of probate is situated and any expenses actually incurred in transporting official papers from the registry of probate to another probate office within the same county for court purposes, upon an itemized statement of such expenses being certified to, and approved by, the chief justice, but a justice appointed to the probate and family court in Dukes county or Nantucket county shall receive his actual expenses for travel by land, sea or air from his residence on the mainland to such county and from such county to his residence on the mainland. The traveling expenses necessarily incurred by judges of probate sitting at the direction of the chief justice in counties other than the counties in which they are appointed shall be paid by the commonwealth, upon the certificate of the chief justice.

SECTION 6. The procedures for removing a deputy assistant register in sections 29 to 29L, inclusive, of chapter 217 of the General Laws, inserted by section 3, shall apply to persons holding that designation on the effective

House of Representatives, July 31, 2006.

This Bill having been returned by His Excellency the Governor with his ob-jections thereto in writing (see House 5250) has been passed by the House of Representatives, notwithstanding said objections, two-thirds of the House (135 yeas to 19 nays) having agreed to pass the same.
Sent to the Senate for its action.
Salvatore F. DiMasi, Speaker.
Steven T. James, Clerk.

Senate, July 31, 2006.

Passed by the Senate, notwithstanding the objections of His Excellency the Governor, two-thirds of the members present (37 yeas to 0 nays) having approved the same.
Robert E. Travaglini, President.
William F. Welch, Clerk.

Approved August 21, 2006.