Brief Fact Summary. Decedent’s son adopted his adult wife in the hopes of bringing his wife under the provisions of decedent’s trust in order for his wife to share in the proceeds from the trust.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. An adult person may be adopted in the same manner as provided by law for the adoption of a child and with the same legal effect.
The adoption of an adult solely for the purpose of making him an heir of an ancestor under the terms of a testamentary instrument known and in existence at the time of the adoption is an act of subterfuge.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether respondent is included in the term “my then surviving heirs” according to the laws of descent and distribution in force in Kentucky?
Held. No. Judgment reversed.
The trial court erred in declaring Myra an heir of Amelia S. Minary. Even though the statute provides that the adoption of an adult shall be given the same legal effect as the adoption of a child, the court views this practice to be an act of subterfuge which in effect thwarts the intent of the ancestor whose property is being distributed and cheats the rightful heirs.
Adopting an adult for the purpose of bringing that person within the provisions of a pre-existing testamentary instrument, when that person was clearly not intended to be covered by the instrument, should not be permitted.
Discussion. The efforts of the deceased to dispose of her property as she saw fit are thwarted by giving strict and literal construction to the adoption statutes.