Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children - California

Date: February 2016

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person

Citation: Prob. Code § 6451

An adoption severs the relationship of parent and child between an adopted person and a birth parent of the adopted person unless both of the following requirements are satisfied:

  • The birth parent and the adopted person lived together at any time as parent and child, or the birth parent was married to or cohabiting with the other birth parent at the time the person was conceived and died before the person's birth.
  • The adoption was by the spouse of either of the birth parents or after the death of either of the birth parents.

Neither a birth parent nor a relative of a birth parent, except for a whole-blood brother or sister of the adopted person or the issue of that brother or sister, inherits from or through the adopted person on the basis of a parent and child relationship between the adopted person and the birth parent that satisfies the requirements listed above, unless the adoption is by the spouse or surviving spouse of that parent.

A prior adoptive parent and child relationship is treated as a birth parent and child relationship.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person

Citation: Prob. Code § 6450

A relationship of parent and child exists for the purpose of determining intestate succession by, through, or from a person between an adopted person and the person's adopting parent or parents.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will

Citation: Prob. Code §§ 21115; 21620

Except as provided below, adopted persons and the issue of these persons, when appropriate to the class, are included in terms of class gift or relationship in accordance with the rules for determining relationship and inheritance rights for purposes of intestate succession.

If a decedent fails to provide in his or her will for a child who was adopted after the execution of the will, the omitted child shall receive a share in the estate equal in value to that which the child would have received if the decedent had died intestate.