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By: Scott Grossman on August 28th, 2016

San Diego Estates With Adopted Heirs: Not So Simple


An interesting aspect about probating an estate in San Diego is the fact that almost no two situations are alike. Even the so-called “simple” estates often have their own unique issues that arise. One such example pertains to adoptive children. Generally speaking, children who are legally adopted are treated as if they are the biological children of their adoptive parents. There are twists to this general rule, however. For this reason, it is important to seek guidance from an experienced professional when administering or litigating an estate matter in San Diego.

Wondering what types of twists might lead to litigation when probating an estate in San Diego where a beneficiary is an adopted child? The following are three such examples:

  1. If the child was adopted by the natural mother’s new husband, but he or she still lived with the natural father at least part of the time, he or she may still inherit from the natural father’s estate.
  2. If the child’s natural father passed away, and the child is later adopted, he or she may still inherit from the natural father’s estate.
  3. If the child’s adoptive parents pass away, it is possible, but not definitive, that the adopted child may inherit from the adoptive grandparents.

If potential issues pertaining to adopted children are part of the probate estate you are administering, it could very well lead to litigation. Understanding the rights of adopted children is crucial to minimizing the associated costs of a legal battle over the estate’s assets. These rights are found both in the California Probate Code as well as in the terms outlined in the decedent’s will or trust. For more information about interpreting a will when adopted children are involved, view our article, “Understanding Who Is Named in a Will.”

To learn more about lawsuits involving the rights of a beneficiary or heir, view our free guide, Winning the Inheritance Battle: The Ultimate Guide to California Trust and Probate Litigation. And, if you have thoughts or questions relating to this article, send us an email today! We would love to hear from you.

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The Grossman Law Firm, APC · · (951) 523-8307