Sanders v. YanezAnnotate this Case
Mary is the child of the marriage of Marion and Herbert Sanders. Marion executed a will in California, placing her separate property assets in the Trust and providing that Mary would receive the Trust income during her lifetime. Upon Mary’s death, the remainder of the Trust was to be distributed “for the benefit of the then living issue” of Mary. The will defined ‘’issue" as lawful lineal descendants of all degrees, including legally adopted children. If Mary had “no living issue” surviving, Jody was to become the income beneficiary of the Trust. In 2013, Mary adopted Andrew, the adult son of a close friend, and sought a declaration of Andrew's rights. The probate court concluded that Andrew did not fall within this definition of “issue” because he had been adopted as an adult under Texas adoption statutes. The probate court believed that a Texas parent-child relationship did not encompass the same rights and duties as a California parent-child relationship. The court of appeal reversed. California cannot devalue a parent-child relationship simply because it was created, whether by biology or adoption, in a sister state that imposes different rights and duties. Those policy choices do not alter the status of the relationship.