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ALEINE WARREN, ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM JAMES WARREN, DECEASED v. JEREMY FOSTER

MAY 23, 1984

ALEINE WARREN, ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM JAMES WARREN, DECEASED
v.
JEREMY FOSTER



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, BOWLING and PRATHER

ROY NOBLE LEE, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Aleine Warren, Administratrix of the Estate of William James Warren, deceased intestate, has appealed from a decree of the Chancery Court of Lowndes County, Honorable W. E. Bearden, presiding, holding that Jeremy Foster is the sole issue of

William James Warren, deceased, and is entitled to inherit his estate under the law of descent and distribution of the State of Mississippi. The appellant has assigned the following errors in the decree of the lower court, which will be considered together:

 (1) The lower court was manifestly in error in declaring a child adopted in the State of Tennessee to be the sole heir of her natural father where there was a Tennessee final decree of adoption and a Tennessee statute divesting such child of any right of inheritance from her natural father.

 (2) The lower court was manifestly in error in failing to give full faith and credit to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of the State of Tennessee pursuant to Article IV, Sec. 1 of the Constitution of the United States.

 Jeremy Foster, age ten (10) years, was born to the marriage of William James Warren and Dee Warren. Subsequently, the Warrens were divorced and Dee Warren married Kenneth Wayne Foster. They resided in the State of Tennessee and Kenneth Wayne Foster and Dee Foster adopted Jeremy Warren, whose name was changed to Jeremy Foster. William James Warren died on June 19, 1981, while incarcerated at the Lowndes County, Mississippi, jail. He was survived by his mother, father and nine brothers and sisters, who claimed to be his sole heirs at law. Warren was unmarried and Jeremy Foster was his only issue. Mrs. Aleine Warren, mother of the deceased, qualified as administratrix of his estate, and after lengthy proceedings in the Federal courts, settlement of a doubtful claim was agreed upon, which settlement was approved by the Chancery Court of Lowndes County February 4, 1983. The administratrix's final accounting was filed, preparatory to closing the estate, and Jeremy Foster was made a party to the proceeding and was served with process.

 The final decree of adoption of the Chancery Court of Shelby County, Tennessee, provides the following:

 IT IS THEREFORE, ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED by the Court that the adoption prayed for herein be and the same is hereby granted and the relationship of parent and child be and is hereby established between Kenneth Wayne Foster and Jeremy Dee Foster, a minor, as though said child had been born to him in lawful wedlock; and the inheritance rights of all interested parties are hereby adjudged in accordance with the laws of the state of Tennessee.

 Tennessee Code Annotated 36-126 (1955), as amended, states the rights of inheritance of an adopted child:

 An adopted child shall not inherit real or personal property from a natural parent or relative thereof when the relationship between them has been terminated by adoption, nor shall such natural parent or relative inherit from the adopted child.

 The facts of the case are uncontradicted. After considering the entire record, the chancellor held the following:

 The court holds that Mississippi law allows an adopted child to inherit from its natural parent. The Tennessee law, Section 36-126, does not permit an adopted child to inherit from its natural parent.

 The general rule is that the law of the place where the property is situated or the law of the decedent's domicile controls the extent or the fact of the right of inheritance when in conflict with the law creating the status. The court holds that Mississippi will recognize the statutes of adoption by the Tennessee court. However, the Mississippi law will be followed as to whether Jeremy Foster can inherit from the father William James Warren, deceased.

 The court holds that the respondent Jeremy Foster, as the sole issue of decedent William James Warren, is entitled to inherit his estate under the law of descent ...


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