Johnson v. RogersAnnotate this Case
Lillian and Jimmie Lee Johnson were married for 37 years, and together, raised her grandniece, Jessica Rogers. In 2005, Ms. Johnson made a will that included a number of bequests to Rogers. Ms. Johnson died in 2011, and Mr. Johnson then sought to probate her will. Rogers filed a caveat, asserting that she had been adopted by Ms. Johnson after the will was made, which would entitle her to an intestate share of the estate Although Rogers was unable to point to any statutory adoption by Ms. Johnson, she claimed nonetheless that she had been adopted pursuant to the equitable doctrine of “virtual adoption.” The probate court agreed that Rogers was “virtually adopted” by Ms. Johnson after she made her will, and so, the probate court admitted the will to probate, but subject to Rogers taking an intestate share of the estate. Mr. Johnson appealed, arguing the doctrine of virtual adoption had no application in a case in which the decedent disposed of her entire estate by will. The Supreme Court agreed, and for that reason, affirmed the admission of the will to probate, but reversed that part of the judgment holding Rogers was entitled to an intestate share.