Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Adopting Ex-Husband Won't Work to Inherit More Shares

UnknownWilbert Gore founded a company in his basement and ended up with $3 billion in annual revenue to divide. Susan Gore, one of Wilbert Gore and Vieve Gore’s five children, adopted her ex-husband, Jan Otto to even the playing field.

Susan and Jan had three children, and each of Susan’s four siblings had four children. This meant that Susan’s children were going to inherit fewer shares. To remedy this, Susan went to court to secretly adopt 65-year-old Jan in 2003. In an unsuspected maneuver, Jan decided to keep the potential distribution from the trust for himself. In 2005, when Susan was considering whether to un-adopt Jan, Susan’s mom died, releasing the trust assets.

On Tuesday, Delaware’s Supreme Court ruled that the unconventional adoption did not entitle Jan to inherit a share of the trust proceeds. Susan keeping the adoption secret for so long was just more convincing evidence that she was acting intentionally to disrupt Vieve’s plans.

See Court: Gore-Tex Heiress Can’t Adopt Ex-husband, Reuters, May 30, 2012.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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