What Are the Inheritance Rights of Adopted Children?

Estate Planning Attorney Assisting Long Island Families with Adopted Children

Inheritance PosterIn general, an adopted child will typically have the same inheritance right to adoptive parents as biological children of those same parents. However, there are instances where adoptive children may not have the same inheritance rights, and there are estate issues unique to the adoptive parent/child relationship.

Understanding the Adoptive Parent-Child Relationship

When a parent adopts a minor child, it creates a legal relationship between parent and child. This also severs the relationship between the biological parents and the child who was given up for adoption. There is an exception to this rule, which falls under the stepparent adoption.

Parent and Child Inheritance Rights Explored

When a child is adopted, the legal ties between them and the biological parents are cut. However, the ties between the adoptive parent and adoptive child remain. An adopted child will receive certain inheritance benefits, including:

  • The right to receive property from their adoptive parents through intestacy laws. When an adoptive parent dies without a will in place, the children, including adoptive children, have the legal right to collect a portion of the estate as New York law dictates.
  • The right to adoptive parents’ estate even if they are left from the will by accident. Sometimes parents will adopt, but do not have time to update their estate plan. Children are protected when left out of a will. An adopted child has this right with their adoptive parents, but not their birth parents.
  • The right to be included under the “all of my children” reference in a person’s will. If an adoptive parent writes that “all my children” will receive a portion of the estate, then that qualifies the adoptive child to a portion of the estate, as well.

The Stepparent Issue

Stepparent adoptions are different than outright adoptions. This allows a stepparent to adopt a child, but the child has not completely severed ties to the birth parent. This is useful for blended family situations.

To create an estate plan, the birth parents and adoptive stepparents must work together to find what is best for the child. Also, the child’s legal and natural connection to each parent will be considered by the probate court judge.

When a Child is Socially Connected to Birth Parents

It is not uncommon for an open adoption to occur, which means that the child is still connected to the birth parents. While the child has no legal inheritance rights to the biological parents, either family can list the child in their estate plan if they wish to do so.

Get Insight About Your Adopted Child’s Rights – Contact a Long Island Estate Planning Professional

If you have children who are adopted, you will need to ensure that you follow estate laws dictated by the courts. Contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today to explore your options. Schedule a no-obligation consultation today by calling 516-605-0625 or requesting more information online.

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