Are Illegitimate Children Able to Receive Inheritance in California
Sep 9 2020 0

Are Illegitimate Children Able to Receive Inheritance in California?

Many years ago, a child who wasn’t born to a legally married couple did not have the right to an inheritance that they do today. Nowadays in California, the law sees both legitimate and illegitimate children as the same. Even though the laws have been updated to reflect the rights of biological children, when a case goes to probate, an illegitimate child could face challenges. If a will was created prior to the change in the law, and there was no specification on who qualifies as a child, modern laws regarding the interpretation of what a child is may not apply. If this happens, an illegitimate child you meant to have a portion of your estate go to could lose out on that inheritance.

California Estate planning is a highly specialized and complex process. The laws are always changing and there is a considerable number of factors as well as an immense amount of thoughtfulness that must go into them. This amount of effort is necessary to ensure they accurately reflect your wishes. To ensure that your will is written correctly and to your exact requirements, working with the California estate planning attorneys at Leiva Law is crucial.

What Happens to Illegitimate Children in the Absence of a Will?

If you take on the task of writing up your own California will, and you intend to have some of your wealth passed down to your children, it is well-advised to outline what you mean specifically when it comes to who you consider a viable child. At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide who you want to inherit your wealth. You don’t have to have your wealth passed on to your children if you don’t want to. However, if you do want all of your children to be covered, the best thing to do is be clear with your wording so that everyone you intend on receiving their piece the pie has no problem getting it.

Without a California will or other final estate documentation in place, the state of California will make the determination of where your estate goes. This happens through the state’s intestacy laws. In this case, modern law would apply. That means that any of your children whether you had them with a partner you married or not would be included. 

Figuring out parental status is fairly straight forward when it comes to a mother, but paternity can be a bit more difficult to establish in some situations. For men, the state says that when the following takes place, a man can be considered a father:

  • A court ruled at some point during a man’s lifetime that there as paternity
  • Strong evidence proves that the man considered the individual his child while he lived
  • There is clear evidence supporting paternity and the father was unable to recognize the individual as his child while he was alive

Speak with a California Attorney about your Will Today

Are Illegitimate Children Able to Receive Inheritance in CaliforniaYou can avoid any confusion or frustration for your family if you make sure that you keep your will up-to-date and you also make the wording as clear as you can. This will help strictly define what you want to happen to your estate after you pass on. The California estate planning law firm at Leiva Law can help you with all of your California estate planning needs. Call the Los Angeles estate planning attorney Marlene Leiva at 818-519-4465 to schedule your free consultation.


You Might Also Like