Probate Court Rules Living Man Dead

Donald Eugene Miller Jr. found himself in a unique position recently when a probate court ruled that he is legally dead. Miller, who is 61 and breathing, was actually declared legally dead back in 1994. He went into the court asking for a reversal of that ruling, and was denied.

Eight years prior to being declared legally dead, Miller disappeared from his home. In court, Miller explained that he left town because he was an alcoholic and had just lost his job. Additionally, Miller owed approximately $26,000 in child support, which he believed he could not pay. During his absence, Miller did not attempt to contact his children or his ex-wife. In 2005, he finally returned.

Ex-wife Robin Miller asked for the 1994 ruling so that their children could receive social security death benefits. Robin appeared in court to oppose reversal of that ruling because she is worried that, if Donald is ruled to be alive, she will have to pay the government back for the death benefits.

Interestingly, Judge Davis refused to reverse the ruling. As Davis explained, โ€œWeโ€™ve got the obvious here. A man sitting in the courtroom, he appears to be in good health.โ€ However, the law states that there is a three-year legal limit for changing a death ruling. Said Davis, โ€œI donโ€™t know where that leaves you, but youโ€™re still deceased as far as the law is concerned.โ€

For assistance in dealing with the many issues the death of a loved one creates, contact us at (626) 696-3145.

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