Well of course there had to be a lawsuit when Elvis passed.
His will referenced “lawful” children being beneficiaries of his testamentary trust. Now who would that be? Children born during his marriage, certainly. Those adopted, OK, but there were none.
What about those Elvis may have sired on tour and never claimed? What if Elvis dies before a paternity action can be brought?
Well as it turned out The King of Rock and Roll successfully defended a paternity suit in California, only to have the claimant return to haunt him post mortem, like in a horror picture. One wonders what forgettable music would be produced for that film, something from “The Trouble with Girls” perhaps?
If that Elvis love child was sired in Washington State it means that poor child should have you get nothing. Same in Tennessee apparently. Text from his Will:
..the Trustee is authorized to accumulate the net income or to pay or apply so much of the net income and such portion of the principal at any time and from time to time for the health, education, support, comfortable maintenance and welfare of: (1) my daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, and any other lawful issue I might have, ….
There is no Equal Protection argument either, it’s the parent that failed the child, not the state. Yes, New Age reader, “Lawful Issue” still means something.
Indeed, every word of a will means something, and how carefully chosen each word may be will not be examined post mortem, as this unfortunate appellant tried to claim. It is presumed every word means what it says.
It should be noted there are about 40% of children born in America to unwed parents at the present time. Even among the highly educated, it seems an acceptable practice. It’s remarkable people who clearly love their children simply chose to ignore great bodies of law that will have an impact upon them should they perish without taking care of matters.
What do you say to this child? Return to Sender?
So, for those that presume the law has caught up with your Brave New World of family, take care to ensure terms are not thrown around in your will like “lawful” when you mean “all”.
Regardless of new concepts of family, people who have had children without benefit of clergy also want their offspring to say kind things about their parents when they pass, perhaps the way Elvis would end a concert:
Thank ya, Thank ya vury much.