BABY DOE

Baby Doe was born out of wedlock. Baby had severe birth defects, allegedly caused by improper birthing procedures by the physicians and hospital involved. The mother brought a lawsuit and received a substantial sum. The moneys were placed in a Special Needs Trust with a bank trustee. The child lived five years in the custody of the mother and then passed away. With the balance of the Special Needs Trust, the baby left a large estate. The mother claimed 100%. The father, our client, claimed 50%. 

The law on the subject is Probate Code ยง6452 "out of wedlock birth". If a child is born out of wedlock, neither a natural parent nor a relative of that parent inherits from or through the child on the basis of the parent and child relationship between that parent and the child unless both of the following requirements are satisfied:

[a] The parent or a relative of the parent acknowledged the child.

[b] The parent or a relative of the parent contributed to the support or the care of the child.

In this case the mother qualified under both [a] and [b]. The mother claimed the entire inheritance. The father qualified under paragraph [a] but [b] was a question.

The father acknowledged paternity qualifying under [a] after the blood test conclusively proved his paternity. He acknowledged to all that the child was his. The problem was under [b], did the father provide "support or care" to the child.

The father claimed that he had paid cash for child support [no receipts] to the mother. The mother denied it.

The father said he was not allowed to see the child, but brought gifts for the child and promised to pay support arrearage to the County for the child, and further that his mother had babysat the child one time. He said he offered to pay for the funeral but that was rejected by the mother. What are your thoughts on father's chances?

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