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If there is a will in this case, it should control. If not the estate should pass through intestate succession (state law ).
For children to inherit from you under the laws of intestacy, the state of California must consider them your children, legally. For many families, this is not a confusing issue. But it’s not always clear. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Adopted children. Children you legally adopted will receive an intestate share, just as your biological children do.Foster children and stepchildren. Foster children and stepchildren you never legally adopted will not automatically receive a share. However, a foster child or stepchild can inherit if he or she can prove that: 1) your relationship with the child began while the child was a minor and continued throughout your lifetimes, and 2) you would have adopted the child if it had been legally possible.Children placed for adoption. Children you placed for adoption and who were legally adopted by another family will not receive a share. However, if your biological children were adopted by your spouse, that won’t affect their intestate inheritance.Posthumous children. Children conceived by you but not born before your death will receive a share. A child conceived with your genetic material within two years of your death will also receive a share if you left written permission for the material to be used. (Cal. Prob. Code § 249.5.)Children born outside of marriage. If you were not married or in a registered domestic partnership with your children’s mother when she gave birth to them, they may receive a share of your estate if they can prove that you acknowledged them as your children and contributed to their care and support.Children born during your marriage. Any child born to your wife or registered domestic partner during your marriage or partnership is assumed to be your child and will receive a share of your estate.Grandchildren. Your grandchildren will receive a share only if their parent (your child) has died before you do.
In case you want to read the law, Cal. Prob. Code §§ 6450–6455 covers parent-child relationships.
This can be a tricky area of the law, so if have questions about your relationship to your parent or child, get help from an experienced attorney.
If you feel that the will was not followed, you could contest the will. Grounds for will contests include such things as fraud, duress, undue influence and mistake.If you feel that appropriate heirs were left out in intestate succession, you should hire a probate attorney to defend the interests of the children.
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