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Matter of Estate of C. Franklin Wolf

Decided: November 30, 1966.

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF C. FRANKLIN WOLF, DECEASED. IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF CLARENCE R. WOLF, DECEASED


Wick, J.s.c.

Wick

The present two actions are founded on complaints for advice and construction by the plaintiffs, the executors and trustees of the estates of C. Franklin Wolf and Clarence R. Wolf, deceased. This court has combined the two actions as they involve essentially the same facts and issue of law.

The said decedents each executed separate wills in September 1964, and C. Franklin Wolf also executed a deed of trust on the same day he executed his will.

Without going into the intricacies of these various instruments, the end result was that upon the death of Clarence R. Wolf his estate was to be divided into five equal parts, one going to his wife, the other four to each of his four children, respectively. In the event that any of Clarence R. Wolf's children should predecease him, that child's share would pass to his children per stirpes.

C. Franklin Wolf was the son of Clarence R. Wolf and did in fact predecease him by five days, survived by two daughters by his second marriage. However, C. Franklin Wolf also had one son by his first marriage to Helen S. Wolf Printz, which was terminated by divorce in 1946.

Helen S. Wolf Printz subsequently married Samuel E. Printz, in 1949, and the latter adopted the son of Helen Printz by her first marriage, Ray Franklin Wolf, and changed his name to Ramon Bryant Printz.

It should be noted at this juncture that, pursuant to the agreement of counsel, a stipulation was read into the record to the effect that Clarence R. Wolf paid certain sums of money to Ramon Bryant Printz in 1963, 1964 and part of 1965 to enable him to attend school in California.

Turning to the will and deed of trust executed by C. Franklin Wolf, the net effect of these instruments was to create a trust from the residue of decedent's estate, the income from which was to be paid to her children. Coupled with this right was a power on the part of the children to invade the corpus of the trust for specified amounts at specified ages and a power of appointment over the remainder.

The sole issue is the effect of the adoption of Ramon Bryant Printz upon his legal status as an heir of Clarence R. Wolf and C. Franklin Wolf. To resolve this issue we must turn to the adoption statutes of New Jersey, and in particular to N.J.S.A. 9:3-30 wherein it states:

"A. The entry of a judgment of adoption shall terminate all relationships between the child and his parents, and shall terminate all rights, duties, and obligations of any person which are founded upon such relationships, including rights of inheritance under the intestate laws of this State: * * *." (Emphasis added)

The section also contains a proviso clause which this court feels has no bearing on the case but which we feel should be treated because counsel for Ramon Bryant Printz has relied thereon. It provides:

"* * * that when the adopting parent is a stepfather or stepmother, and the adoption is consummated with the consent and approval of the mother or father, respectively, such adoption shall not affect or terminate any relationships ...


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