Rule Impacts Report

Probate

RULE WILL AFFECT SUMMARY AND IMPACT

Rule 7

R-08-0032

Contact:
Lori Braddock

Superior Courts

Judges
Clerks of the Court
Court Administrators

Rule 7 of the probate rules deals with confidential documents and information.

The amended Rule 7:

  • Includes debit cards within the meaning of a “financial account.”

  • States that a confidential document shall not be maintained as part of the public record in a probate case. Confidential documents must be designated by a party by placing them in a sealed envelope with language on the envelope as required by this rule. The process of a party placing confidential documents in an envelope applies only to paper documents.

  • In those counties in which the clerk maintains an authorized electronic court record, the amendment allows for a probate information form, which is a confidential document, to be processed electronically “in a manner consistent with the processing of confidential documents in other case types.”

  • Expands the list of persons to whom the clerk may disclose confidential documents, including court administrative staff and other court personnel whose official duties necessitate access.

Text in the comment to this rule has been amended by noting that the rule’s stated purpose of protecting against identity theft and financial exploitation is no longer limited to vulnerable adults; and that any unredacted financial statement, and not just those from a brokerage house, are considered to be confidential.

Impact

Until probate cases are filed electronically, the change concerning processing the probate information form in a manner consistent with confidential documents in other case types should not require a process change. The expansion of access to confidential information to court administrative staff and other court personnel for processing and managing probate cases should enhance court efficiency.