McIntyre Tate partner David Strachman wins groundbreaking probate-equitable adoption case
Posted By McIntyre Tate LLP
McIntyre Tate LLP partner David Strachman recently won a groundbreaking equitable adoption case on behalf of a step son in the Pawtucket Probate Court. It is believed to be the first such case in Rhode Island. Equitable adoption applies in an intestate estate to give effect to the intent of the decedent to adopt and provide for the child. Legal authorities throughout the United States have applied the doctrine to allow a step child to inherent from a step parent. As one commentator noted, "The doctrine of equitable adoption helps avoid injustice often caused to a victimless adult or minor children who for all intents and purposes was the child of a decedent... a claim to a right of inheritance under the equitable adoption theory inevitably places the court in a dilemma, since, on the one hand, the child is asserting a claim which is conceded to be strong on grounds of simple justice, while, on the other hand, the court must give heed to the policy of the Statute of Wills and must not lose sight of the fact that the claimant seeking to inherit the share of a natural child is a stranger to the blood of the decedent. . . However, the trend of judicial opinion appears to favor the doctrine, and in some jurisdictions its recognition has been characterized as a matter of public policy."