Kummer v. DonakAnnotate this Case
Justine Critzer died intestate with, apparently, no spouse, siblings, children or parents to survive her. Nancy Donak, the administratrix of Critzer's estate, subsequently discovered that the Mary Kummer ("Mrs. Kummer"), the deceased mother of Richard and Charles Kummer and Jane Kummer Stolte ("Kummer children"), was the biological sister of Critzer. Consequently, the Kummer children were Critzer's closest surviving heirs. After the Kummer children began to administer the estate, Donak filed a motion for rule to show cause against distribution based upon the fact that Mrs. Kummer had been adopted at the age of fifty-three by her aunt by marriage. At a hearing to determine the effect of Mrs. Kummer's adoption, the court held (1) the Kummer children were not Critzer's heirs at law because Mrs. Kummer's adoption severed their legal ties to Critzer and her estate, and (2) Virginia's statutory scheme does not distinguish between the adoption of an adult and the adoption of a minor. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in finding that the Kummer children were not heirs-at-law of the Critzer estate because their mother's adult adoption severed their inheritance rights.