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Hall v. Vallandingham

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
540 A.2d 1162 (1988)


Facts

After the death of William Vallindingham, Jr. in 1983, the four natural children of Earl J. Vallandingam (Earl’s children) (plaintiffs) brought an action against Joseph W. Vallandingham (defendant), the personal representative for the estate of Earl and Joseph’s brother, William. Earl’s children claimed they were entitled to distributive shares of their natural uncle’s intestate estate because their father had predeceased their uncle. However, two years after Earl’s death in 1956, his widow had married Jim Walter Kilgore who adopted Earl’s children. Upon transmittal from the Orphan’s Court, the Circuit Court for St. Mary’s County decided that Earl’s children could not inherit from their natural uncle due to their adoption by Jim Walter Kilgore. Earl’s children appealed to the Court of Special Appeals, contending that the law governing inheritance rights of natural children implicitly entitles adopted children to inherit from their natural relatives.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Gilbert, C.J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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