Estate of Hatfield

383 P.2d 1021

 

RULE:

Under Oregon law, where an intestate leaves no lineal descendants and no surviving spouse, his property shall descend in equal proportions to his father and mother—irrespective of adoptive or natural parentage.

FACTS:

A biological mother's son was born approximately three years before she married the adoptive father, who later adopted him. The parties were subsequently divorced, and the mother was granted custody of the son. After the son died, the mother filed suit to determine the parties' various rights of distribution from the son's estate. The trial court found that under Oregon state law, where an intestate left no lineal descendants and no surviving spouse, an intestate’s property descended in equal proportions to his father and mother unless there was some other statute which made those provisions inapplicable. The court also held that the son’s adoptive relationship with the father remained intact because the adoption gave him the same rights and obligations as if it had been the father’s natural son; further, the mother’s relationship with the son was not severed by the father’s adoption. The trial court determined the parties were entitled to equal distributive shares of the son’s estate. An appeal followed.

ISSUE:

Under Oregon law, does the adoption of a child impact the inheritability of property by adoptive parents and natural parents?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

Upon the death of a son, he left surviving him his father by adoption and his natural mother. Under the statutes the surviving parents, whether  biological or adoptive, are entitled to inherit the child's property in equal proportions unless there is some other statute that makes these provisions inapplicable.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.