My father just passed away and I am the trustee of the trust. There are four beneficiaries in the trust, however we discovered that my mother, who passed away in 2007, had another son who was adopted in another country. Do I have to notify him. California probate code 16061.7 mentions something about heirs but I don't understand what my responsibility is since he is not a beneficiary
4 Answers from Attorneys
I think the answer depends on the type of trust your father (and mother) implemented. If it is a standard AB type trust and most of the property is community, you should send notice to the adopted child. Whether the adopted child is entitled to anything would require some additional review of the facts and research, since this is not a question that comes up very often.
I would be happy to assist you in this matter.
It is likely that you need to give notice. Giving notice, if there is a question, is better to give than not give. More importantly, you need to retain an attorney to represent YOU. You are entitled to be represented and the Trust is obligated to pay for your legal fees. If you are represented by an attorney, then that attorney will make sure you do all the things you need to do including rendering the accountings that are required.
I would suggest you immediately interview and retain an attorney.
Sorry for your loss.
Probate Code Section 6451 provides that when a person is adopted out by a natural parent, the parent/child relationship with their natural parents is severed unless the child lived with their parent at any time or the adoption was by a step-parent. If the relationship is severed, no need to provide notice as the adopted child is not considered an heir.
I don't know if any of those facts apply in this case, but you should meet with an attorney to discuss.
I agree with Ms. Rouse.