My uncle, who resided in North Carolina, died without a will in mid-Feb. Two of his siblings became executors since he had no spouse or children. We have just learned an adult, 42 yr old daughter has been proven his from court ordered DNA. My uncle did know there was a possibility but the mother didn't pursue the issue and the child later was adopted by the stepfather.The executors have sold and given away some of my Uncles personal belongings, even after being advised not to by the estate attorney. There is also real property (value $30K) that I assume will be used to pay his debtors. The daughter found out about the situation and that's what caused her to pursue and prove her kinship. A detective has confirmed that she will be filing a civil lawsuit.My questions....what kind of civil suit would she be entitled to file? If the executors knowingly mishandled the estate, what are the consequences?
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Ut oh...not a good sign. lol
It's hard to say for certain what she's suing based on, but under NC law, when there neither the adoptee-child nor the biological parents may inherit by and through each other through intestate succession. A child adopted on or after 3/11/49 may not inherit except where adoption proceedings began before that date and were completed after that date in accordance with law in effect from 3/15/41 through 3/10/49. In such cases the above rule covering that period would apply. A child adopted after 1/11/55 may not inherit from a natural parent. If he had a will and distributed to his "children" then she might have a better claim. But since it's a situation where there was no will, and she was adopted by someone else (thus terminating the biological father's rights) then she won't have any claim to any inheritance.
Now notice is supposed to be given to "unknown heirs" (through publication) and assuming that this happened, I don't see what she could do to get anything from the estate or penalize the executors.
Now she could be sniffing for a settlement. But the law is pretty clear here that if she was actually adopted by another man, the biological father is no longer her legal father, and she has no right to inherit.
I read that NC has a intestacany (?) heir clause?
im sorry, statue
ive got the exact term and number, let me retrieve it
I know what you're talking about. Intestate succession is a law where property is distributed if there is no will. Generally it goes to a spouse, and if no spouse then to kids, and if no kids then to parents, and if no parents then to the children of the parents (the brothers and sisters), and if none of them, then to grandparents and decendants of the grandparents, etc...
Only if no one could be found, it would go to the state.
But the main statute here is: North Carolina General Statutes § 29-17 Succession by, through and from adopted children
(a) A child, adopted in accordance with Chapter 48 of the General Statutes or in accordance with the applicable law of any other jurisdiction, and the heirs of such child, are entitled by succession to any property by, through and from his adoptive parents and their heirs the same as if he were the natural legitimate child of the adoptive parents.
(b) An adopted child is not entitled by succession to any property, by, through, or from his natural parents or their heirs, except as provided in subsection (e) of this section.
(c) The adoptive parents and the heirs of the adoptive parents are entitled by succession to any property, by, through and from an adopted child the same as if the adopted child were the natural legitimate child of the adoptive parents.
(d) The natural parents and the heirs of the natural parents are not entitled by succession to any property, by, through or from an adopted child, except as provided in subsection (e) of this section.
(e) If a natural parent has previously married, is married to, or shall marry an adoptive parent, the adopted child is considered the child of such natural parent for all purposes of intestate succession. (1959, c. 879, s. 1.)
of course, i can't find it now. There are 2 accpetions
So in short, (b) means that she can't inherit through the natural father, but (e) means she can still inherit through the natural mother.
Again, this is assuming that she was actually adopted by the step-father.
let me read what you sent in full
Im sending what I found, and tell me if it applies....
In North Carolina, an illegitimate child has the same rights to inherit property from his or her mother and mother's family as any other child.
An illegitimate child does not have a right to inherit from his or her intestate father unless one of the following has happened.
I assumed since he now has been legally declared that this would apply
And that would be the defense I would use if she was not adopted. But the fact that she was adopted means you don't even have to get to question of whether one of these two had happened or not.
But in any instance, that'
that's another defense that there's no obligation to pay her anything,.
thats great news. any suggestion as to how I might find if she was truly adopted? I was told those records were sealed. She was born in VA but adopted in NC
Can't say for certain, but generally through the discovery process in a lawsuit you can ask questions, request documents be produced, etc... Her testimony that she was adopted would suffice. Furthermore, a motion can be made to unseal these records. It would be in the actual lawsuit itself, but it can be done.
I'm satisfied with your response. The adoption also would mean no heir rights to any other family estate, correct?
our family, I should say
For his family, yes. The mother
mother's family, she would still have those rightsl.
both her parents deceaded
thank you again
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