After the adoption is finalized, an adopted child is entitled to inherit from his adoptive parents and their relatives under the laws of intestate succession in the same manner as if the adopted child was born to the adoptive parents.
Right to Inherit from Adopted Child
If an adopted child dies intestate, the adoptive parents and their relatives may inherit a share of the adopted childís estate in the same manner as if the child was born to the adoptive parents. See dying without a will.
Adoption by the Natural Parentís Spouse
Although an adopted childís right to inherit from his birth mother or father is usually severed by the entry of an adoption decree, that right is not terminated when the child is adopted by a spouse of one of the natural parents. If a stepparent adopts the child, the right of inheritance from a natural parent who dies intestate is not affected.Because inheritance laws vary from state to state, determining the right to inherit based on adoption can be complex. To find inheritance laws for a specific state, refer to the Pennyborn.com list of
state laws on wills, trusts, and estates in the U.S.
Inheritance Rights of Adopted Children
The laws of intestate succession determine whether a person is legally entitled to an inheritance from the estate of someone who died without a will. There are many separate issues that can arise regarding the inheritance rights of adopted children, their parents, and other relatives under the laws of intestate succession, including:
1. Whether an adopted child is entitled to inherit from his birth parents;
2. Whether an adopted child is entitled to inherit from the relatives of his birth parents;
3. Whether an adoptive parent is entitled to inherit from his adopted child;
4. Whether a birth parent is entitled to inherit from his biological child if that child was legally adopted by another person;
5. Whether an adopted child is entitled to inherit from his adoptive parents;
6. Whether an adopted child is entitled to inherit from the relatives of his adoptive parents; and
7. Whether a child is entitled to inherit from his biological parent if the child was adopted by a stepparent married to one of his biological parents.These issues are governed by state laws. Because each state makes its own laws regarding probate and the right to estate property, the inheritance rights of an adopted child, his biological parents, and other relatives vary from state to state. The general outline of state intestacy laws and adoption provided on this website is subject to many exceptions. For information on the specific intestate succession laws in your state, review your stateís probate code and consult an estate planning attorney.Birth Parents, Adopted Children, and Intestate Succession Laws
After the adoption decree is finalized, an adopted child usually has no right to inherit from his birth parents, also called biological or natural parents. In fact, the laws of most states specifically preclude an adopted child inheriting from a birth parent when such parent dies without a will. However, there are exceptions in a minority of states. A few states allow an adopted child to continue to inherit from his birth parents even though the child was legally adopted by adoptive parents. Also, the right of inheritance may continue under the intestacy laws of a few states if language in the adoption decree allows it.In summary, while the laws of some states allow an adopted child to inherit from both his adoptive parents and his birth parents, in the majority of states an adopted child may only inherit from his adoptive parents under the laws of intestate succession. A birth parent wishing to leave money or property to a biological child may do so by specifically naming such child as a beneficiary in a will, living trust or other type of trust.Under the laws of intestate succession, a birth parent has no right to inherit from the estate of his or her biological child who has been adopted. While a few states have limited exceptions to this general rule, a birth parent is generally cut off from receiving an inheritance from their biological child after the adoption decree is finalized.
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