Descent and Distribution – Intestate Succession from an Adopted Child – Who Aim His “Brothers and Sisters”

Decedent had never married and was predeceased by his natural and adopted parents. The California statute provided that in such a case his property would go to his brothers and sisters. Appellant, the natural daughter of decedent’s adopted parents, contended that she was his sole heir under this statute, while respondent, decedent’s natural brother, argued that the term ”brothers and sisters” meant blood relatives. The superior court applied the common meaning of the words brothers and sisters and held that appellant was not such a person. On appeal, held, reversed. Since the entire pattern of the California code indicates an intent to displace completely an adopted child’s natural parents with his adopted family, the words ”brothers and sisters” meant brothers and sisters known to decedent, i.e., his brothers and sisters by adoption. In re Calhoun’s Estate, (Cal. App. 1954) 272 P. (2d) 541.