Recent Developments in the Struggle for Probate Reform

The two Als being honored by this issue have honored me with years of precious friendship and many words a!!-d acts of support and encouragement. In return, they and their friends and others who may peruse these pages prepared as they near retirement really deserve better reading than can be expected of an article that wallows in the dreadful details of legislation dealing with probate procedure. Conard and Smith are old hands when it comes to efforts at improvement of law and legal institutions. They know better than to immerse themselves deeply in a piece like the one that follows, realizing that what is developed here will make sense, if at all, only to a relatively small audience of lawyers who will play some role in reshaping a legal institution that has been allowed to become an embarrassment to the nation’s legal community. Others less experienced may be forewarned. This Article describes some of the last decade’s moments of progress and defeat for a movement, now extended to more than thirty years, to improve probate law. The University of Michigan Law School and the Michigan Law Review, with which Alfred F. Conard and Allan F. Smith have had long and distinguished associations, have played large roles in this movement.