465 P.2d 635 (Idaho 1970), 10417, Reed v. Reed

Docket Nº:10417.
Citation:465 P.2d 635, 93 Idaho 511
Opinion Judge:McFADDEN,
Party Name:Sally M. REED, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Cecil R. REED, Administrator In the Matter of the Estate of Richard Lynn Reed, Deceased, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Charles S. Stout, Boise, for defendant-appellant. Derr, Derr & Walters, Boise, and Robert F. McLaughlin, Mountain Home, for plaintiff-respondent.
Case Date:February 11, 1970
Court:Supreme Court of Idaho
 
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Page 635

465 P.2d 635 (Idaho 1970)

93 Idaho 511

Sally M. REED, Plaintiff-Respondent,

v.

Cecil R. REED, Administrator In the Matter of the Estate of Richard Lynn Reed, Deceased, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 10417.

Supreme Court of Idaho.

February 11, 1970

Rehearing Denied March 24, 1970.

Page 636

[93 Idaho 512] Charles S. Stout, Boise, for defendant-appellant.

Derr, Derr & Walters, Boise, and Robert F. McLaughlin, Mountain Home, for plaintiff-respondent.

McFADDEN, Chief Justice.

Richard Lynn Reed, the adopted son of Sally M. Reed and Cecil R. Reed, died intestate on March 29, 1967, in Ada County. According to the respective petitions of his mother Sally M. Reed, and of his father, Cecil R. Reed, his parents were his only heirs at law.

Sally M. Reed, the respondent herein, as the decedent's mother, filed her petition for probate of his estate on November 6, 1967. Prior to the time set for the hearing on this petition, Cecil R. Reed, the father, also petitioned for letters of administration.

The Ada County probate judge deemed himself disqualified to act and the cause was heard before another probate judge, pursuant to stipulation. The cause was heard on the petitions for administration of the respective parties, and the probate court entered its order appointing appellant Reed (the father). The probate court in [93 Idaho 513]

Page 637

entering its order noted that each of the parties was equally entitled to letters of administration under I.C. § 15-312, but that Mr. Reed, the appellant, was entitled to a preference by reason of I.C. § 15-314, which provides that as between persons equally entitled to administer an estate, males must be preferred to females.

On April 23, 1968 the respondent (the mother) appealed to the district court contending that I.C. § 15-314 is unconstitutional as a violation of the Idaho Civil Rights Act (I.C. § 18-7301 et seq.), the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Art. 1, § 1 of the Idaho Constitution. The district court reversed the order of the probate court on the ground that I.C. § 15-314 violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and returned the case to the probate court for a determination, disregarding the preference set out by I.C. § 15-314, of who is entitled to the letters of administration. The appellant has appealed to this court contending that the district court erred in holding I.C. § 15-314 unconstitutional.

I.C. § 15-312 provides that

'Administration of the estate of a person dying intestate must be granted to some one or more of the persons hereinafter mentioned, and they are respectively entitled thereto in the following order:

  1. The surviving husband or wife or some competent person whom he or she may request to have appointed.

  2. The children.

  3. The father or mother. * * *'

This section is followed by I.C. § 15-314 which provides that

'Of several persons claiming and equally entitled to...

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