Under Prob. Code 6541(a), an adopted child is not treated as an issue of his natural parents for inheritance purposes unless he lived with his natural parents and the adoption was by a spouse of a natural parent or after the death of a natural parent.  Here, issue of the natural parents of a Japanese man who was adopted into the decedent’s family in 1911, following the Japanese practice of yoshi-engumi, tried to claim a share of the decedent’s estate through the adoptee.  Held, California recognizes the legitimacy of the Japanese adoption, even if under Japanese custom and law it involves somewhat different duties and rights than a California adoption and often takes place when the adoptee is an adult.  California law, however, dictates the consequences of the adoption for purposes of intestate succession from a person who died in California.  So the adoption is treated as severing the adoptee’s ties to his natural family for purposes of intestate succession and his natural parents’ descendants are not entitled to inherit through him.

California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 3 (Pollak, Acting P.J.); September 26, 2018; 27 Cal. App. 5th 730