Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff argues that the Probate Code’ statute of limitations applies to her claim and allows her to file a claim within a reasonable time and after reasonable notice and publication. Defendants contend that the twenty-three year statute of limitations from the Parentage Act apply and bar Plaintiff’s claim.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The twenty-three year statute of limitations period of the Parentage Act did not apply to an intestacy claim by a thirty-one year old claimant under the Probate Code.
Interpretations which lead to absurd or unreasonable results are to be avoided and so far as the terms of the legislation and proper consideration of the interests of those subject to it will fairly permit, the statutory objective is to be fulfilled.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether the twenty-three year limitations period found in the New Jersey Parentage Act applies to an intestacy action filed by a thirty one year old claimant to prove parentage and heirship under the Probate Code?
Held. No. Reversed. The 1991 amendment to the Probate Code intended only to amend the standard of proof (from clear and convincing to preponderance of the evidence) and did not adopt the twenty-three year limitations period found in the Parentage Act. Plaintiff’s claim is therefore not barred.
Discussion. In determining whether the Legislature intended to change the Probate Code’s statute of limitations the Court looks to the legislative history. The Court finds that the only item discussed by the Law Revision Commission was the inconsistent burdens of proof and not the statute of limitations. In addition the Court finds that the Parentage Act and the Probate Code are independent statutes that address different primary rights.