Uniform Unsworn Declarations Act

Susan Hoff v. Estate of Kidd; Eliot Hoff v. Estate of Kidd, [Ms. 1210096; 1210098, May 27, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2022). The Court (Stewart, J.; Parker, C.J., and Shaw, Bryan, Sellers, and Mendheim, JJ., concur; Bolin and Wise, JJ., concur in the result) reverses the Jefferson Circuit Court’s order denying Eliot Hoff’s (“Eliot”) petition to remove the administration of his grandmother’s estate from probate court pursuant to § 12-11-41, Ala. Code 1975. The Court first notes that “[t]he circuit court has no discretionary authority concerning the application of § 12-11-41 when a petitioner has complied with the statutory requirements.” Ms. *8. The estate argued that “Eliot did not file a sworn petition and, thus, that the circuit court did not acquire subject-matter jurisdiction over the petition.” Ms. *9. Eliot argued that his petition complied with the Alabama Uniform Unsworn Foreign Declarations Act (“the unsworn-declarations act”), § 12-21-80 et seq., Ala. Code 1975.

The Court first “determine(s) that the unsworn-declarations act is applicable to pleadings and petitions that are required to be sworn,” and concludes that

Eliot’s unsworn declaration stated that it was signed under penalty of perjury under the law of the State of Alabama and that he was physically located outside the United States, and it included the date on which and location where it was executed. Eliot’s unsworn declaration substantially complies with the form provided in § 12-21-85, and, as a result, Eliot’s unsworn declaration has the same effect as a sworn declaration. Therefore, Eliot’s removal petition, accompanied by his declaration, constitutes a “sworn petition” as required by § 12-11-41.”

Ms. **11-12.

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