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Legal Writing

This guide assists first-year law students with the CREAC format used in legal writing.

Converting a Question Presented and Brief Answer into an Introduction for a Persuasive Brief

QUESTION PRESENTED

Under the California doctrine of equitable adoption, can a foster child inherit from the estate of a foster parent when they held each other out to the community and cared for each other as mother and son, the child lived with the parent for nine years, and the parent mentioned adoption to the child, an attorney, and family members on numerous occasions?

 

BRIEF ANSWER

Yes.  Alan Simpson will likely inherit from Rebecca Sweeney’s estate.  To inherit under the California doctrine of equitable adoption, a claimant must prove the following by clear and convincing evidence: 1) the existence of an agreement or intent to adopt and 2) subsequent objective conduct indicating a mutual recognition of a parent-child relationship. Here, Alan satisfies the intent requirement because Rebecca expressed her desire to adopt Alan to her sister, an attorney, Alan, and her husband on numerous occasions. Alan also satisfies the parent-child relationship requirement because he and Rebecca loved and cared for each other as mother and son. Accordingly, Alan will likely prove each element by clear and convincing evidence and inherit from Rebecca’s estate as her equitably adopted son.

 

THE CONVERSION PROCESS:

QUESTION PRESENTED + BRIEF ANSWER = INTRODUCTION

Identify the following sections from the Question Presented and Brief Answer:

  1. The clear and concise Answer (to the Question Presented) from the Brief Answer (red sentence)
  2. The Most Determinative Facts from the Question Presented (blue sentence)
  3. The clear and concise Rule Statement from the Brief Answer (green sentence)
  4. The brief Application of the Rule from the Brief Answer (purple sentences)
  5. The Conclusion that bookends the Brief Answer (orange sentence)

 

And then drop these sections into the Introduction, sometimes supplementing the Determinative Facts with the case's procedural posture, nature of the litigation, or motion before the court, and consolidating the Application and Conclusion:

 

INTRODUCTION

Alan Simpson should inherit from Rebecca Sweeney’s estate because she expressed wanting to adopt him, and a parent-child relationship existed between them.  Rebecca Sweeney took Alan into her home to live with her husband and her natural daughter, Hannah Sweeney.  She financially and emotionally provided for Alan and held him out to the world as her son.  Rebecca discussed adoption often with Alan, her sister, husband, and attorney.  After her car accident, Alan cared for Rebecca until her death as a son would.  On July 21, 2014, Rebecca died without a will, and now Hannah Sweeney has petitioned to open Rebecca's estate as her sole heir.


To inherit under the California doctrine of equitable adoption, a claimant must prove the following by clear and convincing evidence: 1) the existence of an agreement or intent to adopt and 2) subsequent objective conduct indicating a mutual recognition of a parent-child relationship. Here, Alan should inherit from Rebecca’s estate as her equitably adopted son because Rebecca expressed her desire to adopt Alan to him and many other people on numerous occasions, and he and Rebecca loved and cared for each other as mother and son.