McLane Law Firm Team Wins Major Constitutional Challenge to Retroactive Massachusetts Inheritance Legislation

The McLane Law firm in Woburn, Massachusetts, is pleased to announce that on August 28, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Margot Botsford found in favor of McLane’s client in a groundbreaking case regarding inheritance legislation.

In its unanimous decision, The Supreme Judicial Court decided to treat the inheritance interests of biological and adopted children in the manner dictated by existing law at the time the client drafted her will, even though a 1958 amendment was added that gave biological and adopted descendents equal inheritance rights, and a 2009 amendment was written to make the change retroactive for all time.

“The 2009 amendment presumably was intended to serve the public interest of equal treatment for adopted and biological children. We have no question that this is a laudable public policy goal,’’ Botsford wrote. But “application of the 2009 amendment retroactively has the potential to upset the planning of multiple generations of a family like `this` and could lead to a situation where there remains unequal treatment of adopted and biological issue, but in the other direction.’’

The case was litigated by lead lawyer, George L. Cushing, of the firm’s Woburn, Massachusetts office, with the help of Adam Hamel and Kimberly Torrisi, who were instrumental in filing court papers and briefs. Bill Glahn successfully argued the case before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on May 7, 2012. For further information, the case is: Rachel A. BIRD ANDERSON vs. BNY MELLON, N.A., trustee, & others ( MA SJC-11122).

McLane’s team frequently represents clients involved in complex disputes involving inheritances (or other  sources of intra-family conflict) and routinely serves as counsel for clients involved in very significant Probate Court litigation. For more information on the firm’s Probate Litigation Group’s experience and services, contact Ralph Holmes at (603)628-1409 or by email at

About the McLane Law Firm

Founded in 1919, the McLane Law Firm is one of New England’s premier full-service law firms with more than 90 attorneys in four offices spread throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Driven by the firm’s depth of sophisticated legal expertise and an unwavering commitment to client service, McLane has built collaborative and lasting relationships with a broad spectrum of domestic and international clients.