Monday, January 13, 2014
Matthew Boehringer (J.D. Candidate, 2014, The University of Toledo College of Law) recently published an article entitled, Intestate Succession for Indigent Parents: A Modest Proposal for Reform, 45 U. Tol. L. Rev. 121 (Fall 2013). Provided below is a portion of the introduction to his article:
AMERICA is getting older. Not only is the absolute number of the elderly--those 65 years and older--increasing, but also the elderly percentage of the population is expected to increase significantly as the Baby Boomer generation ages. Yet most people likely do not know that states may consider some elderly to be the dependents of their adult children. This duty, established by filial support statutes, only lasts until death. At death, intestacy statutes do not treat all dependents equally: some dependents may be left without support from the estate. This comment, therefore, posits that state intestacy laws demand reform to ensure consistent policy determinations and treatment of all dependents equally, regardless of age.
Part I of this comment explores the growing elderly demographics in the United States, the reasons behind this fundamental demographic shift, problems arising as a result, and how history has addressed these recurring problems. Part II discusses the general structure, background, implementation, and purpose of filial support statutes in the United States. Part III of this comment probes the purpose and theories behind intestacy laws. Part IV examines the inconsistent treatment of dependents in intestacy and filial support laws in light of their similar purposes. Part V examines ways to reconcile these policy differences and proposes a solution to the inconsistency: reform intestacy statutes to include dependent parents in sharing in the estate if certain conditions are satisfied. In particular, if the decedent's estate has enough money to provide for all dependents--spouse, children, and indigent parents-- some portion of the estate would devolve to the indigent parents.