When people pass away in California, a probate court often decides what happens to their belongings. A main component of this process is deciding who are the beneficiaries of the estate. Children are usually considered heirs to an estate, even if the children are born after their parent dies. However, California law states certain conditions that must be met for children conceived and born after a parent's death to receive an inheritance.
Children or their representatives must prove that a child is entitled assets by providing specific evidence. First, it must be shown that the person who passed away, known as the decedent, agreed in writing to his genetic material being used to conceive a child posthumously. The document must be signed and dated by the decedent, and the person who used the material to conceive must have been also named. Any modifications to the document giving authorization must have been done in writing.
This authorized person must have provided written notice using certified mail and a return receipt stating that the genetic material of the decedent was authorized to be used for posthumous conception. The written notice must be delivered to the party responsible for paying death benefits or distributing assets within four months of the day that the death certificate was issued, unless a judgment to decide that the decedent had passed away was entered first. That day would then be used. Children must have been in utero within two years of this date.
Probate can be a lengthy and emotional process for loved ones. An attorney could assist family members through probate in order to obtain a fair and timely judgment. An attorney might help with identifying heirs, dealing with creditors and the preparation of tax returns for the estate as well as asset distribution.
Source: Findlaw, "§ 249 : California Code - Section 249", October 23, 2014