In re Estate of Deena Chambers, deceased.
State of Nebraska, appellee. Kent A. Chambers, Personal Representative of the Estate of Deena Chambers, deceased, appellant,
Decedents' Estates: Taxation: Appeal and
Error. On appeal of an inheritance tax
determination, an appellate court reviews the case for error
appearing on the record.
Judgments: Appeal and Error. When reviewing
a judgment for errors appearing on the record, the inquiry is
whether the decision conforms to the law, is supported by
competent evidence, and is neither arbitrary, capricious, nor
Decedents' Estates: Parent and Child: Taxation:
Appeal and Error. Factual findings necessary in
determining whether the requisite acknowledged parent-child
relationship of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-2004 (Reissue 2018)
exists should be reviewed for sufficient evidence and should
not be disturbed on appeal unless clearly wrong.
Statutes: Words and Phrases. As a general
rule, the word "shall" in a statute is considered
mandatory and is inconsistent with the idea of discretion.
The word "may" when used in a statute will be given
its ordinary, permissive, and discretionary meaning unless it
would manifestly defeat the statutory objective.
Decedents' Estates: Taxation: Statutes:
Proof. Statutes exempting property from inheritance
tax should be strictly construed, and the burden is on the
taxpayer to show that he or she clearly falls within the
language of the statute.
Decedents' Estates: Parent and Child:
Taxation. The following factors serve as appropriate
guideposts to the trial court in making a determination of an
acknowledged relationship of a parent under Neb. Rev. [27
Neb.App. 399] Stat. § 77-2004 (Reissue 2018): (1)
reception of the child into the home and treatment of the
child as a member of the family, (2) assumption of the
responsibility for support beyond occasional gifts and
financial aid, (3) exercise of parental authority and
discipline, (4) relationship by blood or marriage, (5) advice
and guidance to the child, (6) sharing of time and affection,
and (7) existence of written documentation evincing the
decedent's intent to act as parent.
Judicial Notice: Records. Papers requested
to be judicially noticed must be marked, identified, and made
a part of the record.
Pleadings: Proof. Pleadings alone are not
proof but mere allegations of what the parties expect the
evidence to show.
from the County Court for Furnas County: Anne M. Paine,
Schroeder and Whitney S. Lindstedt, of Schroeder &
Schroeder, PC, for appellant.
appearance for appellee.
Chief Judge, and Pirtle and Bishop, Judges.
Chambers, personal representative of the estate of Deena
Chambers, deceased, appeals from the determination by the
county court for Furnas County that Anthony K. Chambers, as
an individual beneficiary, did not qualify for preferential
inheritance tax treatment under Neb. Rev. Stat. §
77-2004 (Reissue 2018). The court found that Kent failed to
prove the decedent stood in the acknowledged relation of a
parent to Anthony. Because the county court's factual
determination was not clearly wrong, we affirm.
died testate in January 2018. Deena was a resident of Furnas
County, Nebraska, and she was survived by Kent, her husband.
Kent and Deena were married for a little over [27 Neb.App.
400] 30 years and have no biological children. One of the
devisees in Deena's will was Kent's nephew, Anthony,
who was born in 1975 to Kent's brother and the
brother's then-wife. A copy of Deena's signed,
January 2009 will was filed in the county court in February
2018. In the 2009 will, Anthony is named as alternate
personal representative and alternate trustee for all trusts
established by the will and is the residuary beneficiary of
March 2018, Kent, as personal representative, filed an
inventory for Deena's estate in the county court. On June
12, he filed a petition for determination of inheritance tax,
along with an inheritance tax worksheet, voluntary
appearance, and waiver of notice. Kent asked the court to
"dispense with giving of any further notice as provided
by law; and upon hearing, without delay," determine the
value of Deena's assets and the amount of inheritance
tax. On the inheritance tax computation portion of the
worksheet, Anthony's designated "Beneficiary
Relationship" was "Like a Child." The Furnas
County Attorney signed the worksheet on May 25, under the
printed paragraph stating:
I, the undersigned . . . County Attorney, hereby enter my
voluntary appearance ... in the above captioned proceeding
and waive the service of notice upon me to show just cause,
and furthermore waive all notice required by law of time and
place of hearing for the determination of values of property
for inheritance tax purposes and for the purpose of assessing
inheritance tax .... I have examined the foregoing Worksheet
and have no objections thereto for inheritance tax purposes
22, 2018, Kent filed with the county court an affidavit from
Anthony, detailing Deena and Anthony's relationship.
Attached to the affidavit as an exhibit was a copy of an
unsigned draft of a February 2013 last will and testament of
Deena, naming Anthony as one of the beneficiaries. Anthony is
identified at three points in ...