Adopted Children and Estate Planning is a topic that comes up from time to time. It is important to understand the way the law treats adopted children for the purposes of estate planning and inheritance.
Many times, people don’t realize their rights, or lack thereof, by being adopted. Parents are just as confused. Too many parents and children think that adoption doesn’t really change anything. Then children are frustrated when they find out they don’t inherit from the parents that gave them up for adoption. Adoption severs all legal ties between the adopted child and their biological parents.
A child has a legal right to inherit from their adoptive parents just as if they were born to them. Under the law, a child you adopted is treated as having been born into the family for inheritance purposes.
A child has NO legal right to inherit from the parents that gave them up for adoption. Adoption legally severs their tie to the parents that gave them up. Even if they have met up and known each other for years, the child has no right to inherit.
On a related note, your stepchildren have no legal right to inherit from you. If you don’t have an estate plan, then they get nothing. I must tell somebody this all too often.
However, the relationship can be changed back.
Adult Adopted Children and Estate Planning
This brings an interesting fact about adopted children and estate planning…
You can adopt an adult in Arkansas. And I’ve done it to re-establish the legal relationship.
Most often adopting an adult is done in a move to re-establish an existing relationship or confirm a long-standing relationship. As an adult, adoption is not difficult. However, it is strongly recommended to get an attorney to help you with all the steps and paperwork.