Estate of Burden
California Court of Appeal
53 Cal.Rptr.3d 390 (2007)
The decedent, Gregory Burden, had a son, Dale (defendant). While Dale’s mother was pregnant, Burden asked her to marry him, but she refused. Burden later married another woman and they had a daughter, Tara (plaintiff). Burden had only minimal contact with Dale. In conversations between Dale and Burden, Burden acknowledged a family resemblance between them, and apologized for being an inactive father. Dale had a close relationship to Burden’s mother and siblings, and Burden’s family knew Dale to be Burden’s son. Burden wrote an email to his sister, saying that he was a party to Dale’s conception, but that he was not interested in a relationship with Dale or Dale’s children. Under § 6453(b)(2) of the probate code, a parent-child relationship exists between a father and child for the purposes of intestate succession if there is clear and convincing evidence that the father openly held out the child as his own. The trial court held that there was clear and convincing evidence that Burden openly held Dale out to be his son, and that Dale was therefore entitled to half of Burden’s estate. Tara appealed, arguing that there was not enough evidence shown to meet the requirements of § 6453(b)(2) of the probate code.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Perren, J.)
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