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Wife barred from inheritance because of adulterous relationship

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that a woman’s relationship outside of her marriage prevents her from inheriting from her deceased husband’s estate.

Renada Fay Hannebaum moved out of the marital residence she shared with Stephen Hannebaum on Aug. 1, 2007, and later filed for divorce. The divorce was never finalized, and Stephen died intestate in April 2011.

Renada paid for the funeral and asked the court to name her personal representative. Stephen’s son and mother objected, and they were appointed as personal representatives. The trial court determined that Renada forfeited her right to inherit from Stephen’s estate.

She argued that the evidence didn’t establish that she was living in adultery at the time of Stephen’s death and that she voluntarily abandoned him.

Senior Judge Randall T. Shepard pointed out that the evidence, when looked at together, suggests Renada had a sexual relationship with Doug Wilson. She admitted to dating him after separating from her husband, she said she spent some nights alone with him at his home, and a private investigator testified he saw her enter Wilson’s home through the garage by punching in a code.

Renada also argued she left the home to escape abuse, but the only identified instance of abuse before the trial court occurred after she had already moved out.

“As for whether Renada left Stephen permanently rather than temporarily, we think that a court can find permanent departure where, as here, a spouse leaves the marital residence, files for dissolution, and remains away for roughly four years, notwithstanding the fact that a final decree of dissolution had not been issued,” Shepard wrote in In the Matter of the Estate of Stephen T. Hannebaum, Deceased, Renada Fay Hannebaum v. Mary Rebecca Hannebaum and Stephen T. Hannebaum, II, as Personal Representatives of Stephen T. Hannebaum, 81A05-1301-ES-17.

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  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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