Minary v. Citizens Fidelity Bank
419 S.W.2d 340 (1967)

Facts:
Amelia Minary died and left her estate to her husband and three sons, James, Thomas, and Alfred. Upon the death of the last surviving beneficiary, the trust would be distributed to her then surviving heirs, and if there weren’t any, it would go to a church.

  • The husband, James, and Thomas all died, and shortly before Alfred died, he adopted his wife, Myra, as his child.

History:
The trial court declared Myra and heir of Amelia Minary.

Issue:
Can an adult be adopted for the sole purpose of making him or her an heir and claimant to the estate of an ancestor under the terms of a testamentary instrument known and in existence at the time of the adoption?

Holding:
No. Reversed.

Reasoning:

  • Even though statute permits such adoption and even though it expressly provides that it shall be with the same legal effect as the adoption of a child, the court here held that giving a strict and literal construction to the adoption statutes would thwart the intent of the ancestor whose property is being distributed and cheats the rightful heirs.

Rule: Adoption of an adult for the purpose of bringing that person under the provisions of a preexisting testamentary instrument when he clearly was not intended to be so covered is not permitted.