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By: Scott Grossman on June 18th, 2018

Foster Child May Have Rights to the Estates of Foster Parents

Many foster parents develop deep and lasting bonds with the children that they take in. If a foster parent passes away after creating such a bond with a foster child, does the child stand to inherit from the foster parent? At first glance, the answer may appear to be “no”. However, foster children are treated similarly to stepchildren under the California Probate Code.

There are certain limited circumstances in which a foster child may have legitimate legal rights to the estate of a foster parent. These circumstances may include:

  1. Relationship with the foster parent was long-term
  2. Relationship with the foster parent began when the foster child was a young child
  3. The foster parent attempted to adopt the foster child
  4. The foster parent made specific provisions for the foster child in his or her will or trust

If the will or trust names the foster as a beneficiary, none of the factors listed above are necessary. The foster parent is free to make provisions for foster children as he or she sees fit. If another family member attempts to challenge these provisions purely because the child was a foster child and not a biological child, that alone will not be enough to succeed in an estate litigation battle.

  • Estate (noun): An estate includes the things that a person owns. The things left by someone who has died can be distributed based on a Will, Trust, or Intestate laws. Estates have to be administered in the Probate Court if the estate meets certain criteria. See our Infographic on The Probate Process.
  • Bond (noun): A safeguard for the Beneficiaries or Heirs of an Estate from any wrongdoing by the Administrator or Executor that must be in place before the Court grants authority to act on behalf of the Estate. This is similar to an insurance policy, and once the Estate closes the Administrator or Executor may Petition the Court for reimbursement for the premium on the Bond.

If you are ready to start your case, then please give us a call or fill out our Get Help Now form. A comprehensive overview of California Probate is available here. Should you have additional questions about trust litigation, you will find plenty of useful information in our Learning Center.