Inheritance Rules for Adoptive Children

Once the adoption process is complete, as per the law, adopted children are treated as if the adopting parents are their birth parents. Therefore, they have the right to inherit assets from their adoptive parents. However, before you draft a will, there are certain factors around this issue that you need to be aware of.

Unmentioned Children

If an adoptee has been left out of a will for any reason whatsoever (for example if they were adopted after the will was drafted and the changes were not made), he/she is known as an ‘unmentioned child.’ Depending on the state you live in, he/she may have rights over the same share as the children who were included in the will.

You need to go through your state laws to understand inheritance rights that apply to your case. Most are based on state probate regulations, which may have an effect on the documents you need.

Parent-Child Rights

Since most adoptions involve a complete severance from birth parents to ensure a legal and binding relationship with adoptive parents, adoptive children in the relationship are connected legally to the latter as well. This means that they have inheritance rights from their new parents and not their original ones.

Additionally, if a parent dies without leaving a will behind, the children and any adopted children of the parent have rights over his/her estate. For adoptees, these rights can also include:

  • The right to acquire property from adoptive parents – This comes under intestacy laws so as legal wards of a deceased parent, they have this connection to their adopted parents, not their birth ones.
  • The right to acquire a part of a parent’s estate if they are left out of a will accidentally – The good news is that all states have laws in place that protect adopted children who are left out of this by accident. If for instance, an adopted parent or parents die after adopting a child and had no chance to change their will beforehand, the adoptee will still receive part of their estate. However, this does not apply to the birth parents.
  • The right to be included in ‘all my children’ reference – Most documents that pertain to estate planning treat children as groups. What this means is that a parent can leave the estates to be divided equally under the ‘all my children’ group. If there is no intent against the contrary for this, adopted children are typically included under this as well.

Second parent and step parent adoptions are a bit different though. In this type of adoption, the adopted parents and the birth parents have to cooperate for the good of the adoptee. If on the other hand, the birth parent dies before giving consent to the adoption, the adoptee can retain his/her connection to the family of the deceased.

How do you get approved for adoption? This and other questions can be answered by professionals. Whether you wish to adopt an adult, a step child, or a senior member of the family, contact Rapid Adoption today. Dial 1 -877 -626 -2698 to get in touch with us or fill out the form on our website.

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