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A Better Partnership
June 27, 2013

COA holds that non-biological parent can be a 'natural parent' under EPIC

In In re Estate of Daniels, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that under the Michigan Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC), a person need not be a biological child of a decedent to be an heir and therefore a personal representative for an estate. The petitioner, the decedent's biological daughter, was the initial personal representative of her father's estate, but was replaced when a man who claimed to be the decedent's son asked to be appointed in her place. The man was born when his mother and the decedent lived together and had always considered the decedent his father, even though his birth certificate did not name a father. The statute, MCL 720.2144, provides that if the child is born out of wedlock, 'a man is considered to be the child's natural father for purposes of intestate succession if . . . (iii) [t]he man and child have established a mutually acknowledged relationship as parent and child that begins before the child becomes age 18 and continues until terminated by the death of either.' The court found that this statute did not require the child to be a biological child, and also noted that other sections of EPIC contemplate situations where a child may be a child of a parent without being a biological parent.

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