If your parents created an estate plan before your birth and they failed to update it before they died, you may be worried about your ability to inherit from their estate. Under California law, you are referred to as a pretermitted child. Pretermitted children are typically entitled to inherit a portion of their parent’s estate. The three primary exceptions to this general rule occur when (i) the parent intentionally omitted the child, (ii) the parent made other provisions for the child with the intent for those provisions to serve as the child’s inheritance, or (iii) the parent left an inheritance to the surviving parent of the children.If the court determines that a pretermitted child is entitled to inherit from his/her parent’s estate, the child receives the share of the estate that would have been received by that child if the parent had died without a will. In determining where the pretermitted child’s share of the estate comes from, the court considers:

  • If there is a portion of the estate that is not disposed of under the terms of the parent’s will or trust, the pretermitted child’s inheritance will be made from those assets.
  • If all assets have been disposed of by the terms of the parent’s estate plan, the pretermitted child’s share of the estate will be taken from the named beneficiaries in equal proportion to the value that they would otherwise receive, respectively.

It should be noted, however, that if the parent made a specific bequest of a certain asset to a named beneficiary in the will or trust, that particular asset can be exempted. In other words, if your mother specifically left her wedding rings to your sister Susie, then Susie can claim the rings are exempted from the amount to be paid to the pretermitted child. If you are a pretermitted child or you have other questions regarding estate administration and inheritances, let the legal team at The Legacy Lawyers help. Call to schedule your no-cost consultation: (714) 963-7543.