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Stepdaughter Can’t Prove Adoption in Probate Case

(CN) - A woman's estate will go to relatively unknown family members in Germany instead of her beloved stepdaughter, because the stepdaughter could not prove that she had been effectively adopted, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled.

The district court denied Pamela Jones' bid to inherit the estate of Christine Thompson, and the appeals court reluctantly affirmed.

"Christine and Pamela shared a close and loving mother-daughter relationship," Judge Vogel wrote. "However, under neither statutory nor case law is this sufficient to prove an agreement or contract regarding adoption."

Thompson's estate, including property from the estate of Jones' father, will instead go to relatives in Germany who had little contact with Thompson.

"While this seems unfair," Vogel wrote, "we cannot fix this problem. Any changes to our law must be done by the Legislature."

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