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Brown v. Johnson (In re Estate of Broxton)
Florida District Court of Appeal
425 So. 2d 23 (1982)
Delores Thomas Brown and Adolphus Thomas, Jr. (plaintiffs) were the children of Lillian Thomas Carthon. Lillian’s mother, Ethel Williams, was married to Columbus Johner at the time of Lillian’s birth. However, there was evidence that Lillian was the natural child of Vanchester Broxton, not of Columbus. There was also evidence that Vanchester could not have been Lillian’s natural father because he was away at school at the time Lillian was conceived and there was further evidence that Columbus was Lillian’s natural father. Vanchester died intestate. Delores and Adolphus filed a petition to inherit from Vanchester’s estate as his lineal descendants. By that time, Lillian, Ethel, and Vanchester were all deceased and evidence regarding Lillian’s paternity was gathered from various third-party witnesses. In addition, Delores and Adolphus submitted into evidence a letter from Vanchester to Delores in which he referred to Delores as his granddaughter. Delores and Adolphus argued that the letter constituted a written acknowledgement of paternity and that they, therefore, could inherit from Vanchester through Lillian. Bernice Broxton Johnson, as personal representative of the estate of Vanchester Broxton (defendant), challenged Delores and Adolphus’s claim. The probate court held that Delores and Adolphus had not presented sufficient evidence proving Lillian was Vanchester’s natural daughter and that they therefore could not inherit as Vanchester’s descendants. Delores and Adolphus appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hersey, J.)
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