Olive F. Watson, age 60, appeared in Maine State Supreme Court on Tuesday to appeal an adoption annulment that was originally granted in April.

Ms. Watson, the granddaughter of I.B.M. founder Thomas J. Watson and daughter of former chief exec Thomas J. Watson, Jr., legally adopted her longtime lesbian partner, Patricia Ann Spado, also age 60, in 1991 as a means of securing Spado as the heir to Ms. Watson’s large inheritance.

Ms. Watson and Ms. Spado ended their romantic relationship in 1992, just one year after the adoption occurred.

Ms. Spado claims that she is still Ms. Watson’s sole heir and that she qualifies as the nineteenth grandchild of the late Thomas J. Watson, making her eligible to receive some of his large fortune. Ms. Watson’s lawyers deny that Ms. Spado is entitled to any family money and are battling her claims in court.

In April the arrangement was annuled by the same probate judge that granted the adoption sixteen years earlier due to the women’s failure to meet Maine residency guidelines. Ms. Spado’s lawyers immediately appealed the annulment in an effort to secure her position as a potential heir to the Watson fortune.

Ms. Watson’s mother passed away in 2004, leaving a multi-million dollar fortune in the form of a trust fund that would be divided among her eighteen blood grandchildren. Ms. Spado continues to claim that she is in fact the nineteenth legal grandchild of the late Mrs. Watson as a result of the adoption.

Ms. Watson’s lawyers are claiming that Ms. Spado has committed fraud and are calling the adoption bogus. At the time, Ms. Spado did not reside within the probate court’s jurisdiction, and lawyers for Ms. Watson claim that the court did not have the power to grant an adoption at all.

A final decision has not yet been reached. Ms. Watson and Ms. Spado no longer communicate outside of court.

Related articles courtesy of The NY Times and IHT.com.

Nicolette Kuff is a freelance writer who resides in Upstate NY. She is also adopted, but will not be inheriting a multi-million dollar fortune.

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