Thursday, September 14, 2006

PA UTA: Counting the Days to 11/06/06 (Real Effective Date)

Previously, on September 6, 2006, I posted a message about the new Pennsylvania Uniform Trust Act. I mentioned the generally-anticipated effective date of November 4, 2006.

I stand corrected. Because November 4, 2006, will be a Saturday, the real effective date will be Monday, November 6, 2006.

A question was raised about the calculation of the effective date during the first presentation, on September 12th in Philadelphia, of the "Pennsylvania Uniform Trust Act", seminar, which is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and the Pennsylvania Bankers Association.

In a prior posting, I discussed this statewide course offering.

Ted Watters, Esq. yesterday clarified the real effective date in a letter, as follows:

The effective date for Chapter 77, the Pennsylvania Uniform Trust Act is in fact Monday, November 6, 2006, not as stated in the outline, November 4. As you know, during the seminar, a question was raised concerning the effective date, and we stated that it was November 4. Research that afternoon indicated that we were incorrect.

Pennsylvania has a wonderfully arcane rule (one might even say nonsensical) for effective dates. Under 1 PA CSA §1908, if an effective date is stated as a number of months after signature by the Governor, then the effective date can fall on a weekend or holiday. For example, the Pennsylvania Prudent Investor Rule was part of a bill signed by the Governor on June 25, 1999, and became effective on Christmas of that year, December 25, 1999. In contrast, if the effective date is stated as a number of days, and the date falls on a weekend or holiday, the actual effective date is the next business day.

The Governor signed Senate Bill 660, making it Act No. 98, on July 7, 2006. 120 days later is November 4. However, November 4 is a Saturday, so the effective date of Chapter 77, the Pennsylvania Uniform Trust Act, is Monday, November 6, 2006.

Ted's advice can be trusted on this point. For his summary of the major changes being wrought by the PA UTA, see his article posted online.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote:

"The true key for the construction of everything doubtful in a law, is the intention of the law givers. This is most safely gathered from the words, but may be sought also in extraneous circumstances, provided they do not contradict the express words of the law."

— Jefferson's Letter to A. Gallatin, 1808

In this case -- where we are counting the days to the effective date of the PA UTA -- Saturday is just such an "extraneous" circumstance.