January 21, 2007
Case Law Development: Publicly Admitting Paternity Sufficient to Establish Inheritance Rights
The California Court of Appeals interprets its probate code to provide that "a child born out of wedlock to establish a father-child relationship for intestate succession purposes by providing clear and convincing evidence that the father "has openly held out the child as his own." Here, the father was aware he had fathered a son and had offered to marry the mother who refused and married another man who had raised the son as his own. When the son was 18 years old he learned of his biological father's identity and established a relationship with the father's family. Despite the fact that father admitted he was the biological father, was not interested in establishing a relationship with the son and limited his contact with him. The court held that father's acknowledgement to family members and others that he was the biological father was sufficient to establish his paternity under the probate code -- neither a desire for a relationship with the son nor any formal written acknowledgment of paternity were required.
Estate of Burden, 2007 Cal. App. LEXIS 48 (Jan 16, 2007)
Opinion on the web (last visited January 22, 2007 bgf)
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