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When is a Daughter Not an Heir of Her Natural Father’s Probate Estate in California?


As I described in my prior post, my client’s natural father had died without a will (i.e. California Probate Code §88) and her half-sister from her father’s prior marriage had petitioned to be appointed the personal representative of the estate (California Probate Code §8400). The surprise came when my client’s half-sister petitioned the court to be declared the sole heir of my client’s natural father.

Some more pertinent facts: My client’s mother was never married to her natural father. However, my client’s mother did marry, and my client was adopted by her mother’s husband. In California this is referred to as a “step-parent” adoption. This is an adoption where a natural parent with custody of the child (in this case, the mother) marries, and her husband (the step-father) adopts the child as his own.

Such an adoption has legal ramifications which I will discuss in the next post.

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