Robert H. Sitkoff, the John L. Gray Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, has been named chair of the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) drafting committee for an Act on Divided Trusteeship.
An increasingly common practice in contemporary estate planning and asset management is the naming of a corporate trustee that is given custody of trust property, but with one or more of the investment, distribution, or administration functions of trusteeship given to a person or persons who are not formally designated as trustees. This is the problem of divided trusteeship. There is much uncertainty about the fiduciary status of nontrustees who have control or potential control over a function of trusteeship and about the fiduciary responsibility of trustees with regard to actions taken by such nontrustees. The Drafting Committee on Divided Trusteeship will draft legislation addressing these questions and also will draft conforming amendments to existing uniform trust and estate acts.
As Chair, Sitkoff will oversee the work of the drafting committee, which includes more than a dozen Uniform Law Commissioners, including HLS alumni John Langbein ’68, a professor at Yale Law School, and John (Jack) Burton ’68, a partner at Rodey, Dickason, Sloan & Robb, in Sante Fe, NM. Turney Berry, a partner at Wyatt, Tarrant and Combs, in Louisville, Ky, will serve as Vice Chair. John Morley, a professor at Yale Law School, will serve as Reporter. The drafting committee will also include advisors from the American Bar Association and observers from the American Bankers Association.
An expert in wills, trusts, estates, and fiduciary administration, Sitkoff was the youngest tenured professor to receive a chair in the history of Harvard Law School. His 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. He is the surviving co-author of Wills, Trusts, and Estates (Aspen 9th ed. 2013), 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.
An active participant in trusts and estates law reform, Sitkoff serves under Massachusetts gubernatorial appointment as a Uniform Law Commissioner. Within the ULC, he is a liaison member of the Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Trusts and Estates Acts, the principal oversight body for all uniform law activity pertaining to trusts and estates, and has been a member of several drafting committees on trusts and estates matters, such as for the Uniform Powers of Appointment Act and the ongoing drafting committee on Trust Decanting. Within the American Law Institute, he is a member of the Council, the governing body of the Institute, and he serves on the Council’s Program Committee. He previously was a member of the consultative groups for the Restatement (Third) of Trusts and the Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills and Other Donative Transfers.
Established in 1892, the Uniform Law Commission provides states with models for nonpartisan 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. Further information can be found at the ULC’s website at www.uniformlaws.org.