Professor Richard V. Wellman

wellmanRichard V. Wellman, Alston Professor of Law Emeritus at University of Georgia School of Law was a faculty member at the University of Michigan Law School prior to joining the Georgia law faculty in 1973. A long-time teacher of Property, Trusts & Estates, and related private law courses, he is best known for his work since 1964 that continues today in connection with the Uniform Probate Code, a collaborative effort by nationally prominent bar leaders and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws to reform state laws in response to severe public criticism of America's probate judiciary and lawyers. In this undertaking, he served in various positions in a continuing effort to improve and enact better and more uniform state laws governing donative transfers of wealth, a subject of intense interest to elders and their families.

Mr. Wellman is a life member of the NCCUSL having served as a Michigan commissioner for 5 years and as a Georgia commissioner for 28 years. His current work with the NCCUSL is as a committee member revising the Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act and the Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act. Wellman's most important achievements, all in collaborative projects with others, include:

  • acceptance by most states of unsupervised administration of decedents' estates formerly recognized only in Georgia, Texas and Washington;
  • recognition in all states of durable powers of attorney for financial matters, formerly recognized only in Virginia;
  • transfer of ownership on death (TOD) for assets registered in TOD form now accepted for securities in all states except Texas and New York, in contrast to non-recognition everywhere prior to UPC;
  • recognition in 15 states of custodial trusts, a relatively new statutory trust form designed to aid asset management without guardianship for elderly persons; and
  • legislative models discouraging use of joint accounts by persons interested in agency and death benefit arrangements rather than true dual ownership.