Child must show she is born out of wedlock to inherit

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Ruling on the issue for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the plain language of Indiana Code Section 29-1-2-7 requires a child to show she is born out of wedlock for inheritance purposes.

There have been other cases that appear to support the claim a child must show she’s born out of wedlock before application of I.C. Section 29-1-2-7(b), which governs the paternal inheritance to, through, and from children born out of wedlock, but none addressed the issues specifically, noted Judge Nancy Vaidik.

In Victor C. Regalado v. Estate of Joseph Regalado and Paula Heffelfinger, No. 64A05-0911-CV-672, the appellate court unanimously reversed summary judgment for Paula Heffelfinger in Victor Regalado’s petition to determine heirship, which alleged she was not Joseph Regalado’s half-sister. Joseph Regalado received a $15 million settlement from the City of Chicago in 2000 and died intestate in 2004.

His father, Baltasar, had married Heffelfinger’s mother in 2003, when Heffelfinger was 35 years old. They later annulled the marriage in 2005. In the agreement order of annulment, which dealt with property settlement, Baltasar acknowledged Heffelfinger as his biological daughter.

Heffelfinger designated the annulment order, Baltasar’s unsworn July 2003 petition for leave to make gifts in guardianship, which identifies her as Joseph’s sister, a 2003 birthday card he signed as “dad,” a 2004 sworn petition for the appointment of administrator, which identifies her as Joseph’s half-sister, and a 2007 siblingship report stating Heffelfinger and another brother, Tony, have a 98.1 percent probability of being half-siblings.

I.C. Section 29-1-2-7(b)(4) applies to the instant case, which requires for Heffelfinger to inherit from Joseph that the putative father marries the mother of the child and acknowledges the child to be his own.

The designated evidence was sufficient to show that Baltasar acknowledged Heffelfinger as his biological daughter. However, she was unable to show that she was a child born out of wedlock. To be born out of wedlock, the mother must be unmarried when the child is born or married when the child is born, but not to the child’s biological father.

Heffelfinger didn’t show her mother’s marital status at the time of her birth. Baltasar’s acknowledgment of Heffelfinger alone doesn’t establish him as her biological father, wrote Judge Vaidik. There is a marriage, but bare acknowledgement of paternity. In addition, the siblingship report only shows a 98.1 percent probability she is the half-sibling of Tony. Under the statute controlling paternity, if the result of the test is at least a 99 percent probability the man is the father, then it’s presumed he is the biological father.

The judges also rejected Heffelfinger’s argument that Baltasar’s acknowledgment of her in the 2005 annulment order is definitive in establishing paternity. It appears her argument is one of collateral estoppel. The parties’ acknowledgment of Heffelfinger as Baltasar’s biological daughter is gratuitous because the subject matter of the order is a property settlement and because the annulment court will never determine issues of custody and support for Heffelfinger, wrote the judge. The court remanded for further proceedings.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues