Can Adopted Children Inherit from Biological Parents? Here’s The Truth

In the state of California, a set of precise laws meticulously outline the inheritance rights bestowed upon adopted children.

Adopted children get the same inheritance rights as biological ones. But, can adopted children claim inheritance from their biological parents?

People often seek help from California estate planning attorneys to navigate this legal maze.

These attorneys explain the details of inheritance rights for adopted children.

For adopted individuals with questions about their potential inheritances, consulting an experienced estate planning attorney is crucial.

It provides clarity on legal standing and helps make informed decisions on estate planning matters.

When it comes to legal inheritance rights, adopted children hold the same status as biological children.
When it comes to legal inheritance rights, adopted children hold the same status as biological children: Photo source (Canva)

Is a Will Necessary for an Adopted Child to Inherit From an Estate?

Creating a will or trust is the best way to ensure your estate is distributed as you wish.

The issue of an adoptive child’s entitlement to inheritance often comes to the forefront in cases where a parent, whether adoptive or biological, passes away without expressly designating beneficiaries for their estate.

In such instances, questions may arise about the adopted child’s legal standing in the inheritance process, emphasizing the importance of clear and comprehensive estate planning to address potential ambiguities and uphold the deceased individual’s intentions.

Can an Adopted Child Inherit from Their Adoptive Parents?

Legal adoptions create a recognized parent-child bond between adoptive parents and the child.

This bond grants adopted children the same inheritance rights as biological offspring.

Despite this legal protection, it’s wise for those in adoption to create estate planning documents.

These documents clarify intentions on inheritance matters, offering added clarity and assurance for everyone involved.

Do adopted children have the right to inherit from their birth parents’ estate?

When it comes to legal inheritance rights, adopted children hold the same status as biological children.
Image courtesy (Forbes)

When one or both biological parents put a child up for adoption, people commonly assume that the legal adoption process severs all existing rights between the child and their biological parent(s).

However, California Probate Code Section 6451 provides exceptions:

  • If the birth parent and adopted person cohabited as parent-child or if the birth parent, married or cohabiting with the other birth parent at conception, passed away before the child’s birth, AND
  • If the adoption was done by a step-parent or happened after the death of a birth parent, THEN
  • A legal relationship exists, granting the adopted person the right to inherit from the estate of a birth parent.

Both conditions must be met for an adopted person to have an independent legal claim to inherit from a birth parent’s estate.

Birth parents can establish a will explicitly granting or denying inheritance rights to their biological child, specifying the child(ren) by name rather than using general terms like “the children born of.”

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Protecting the Inheritance Rights of Adopted Children

Complications often arise in estates after the decedent’s passing. To avoid issues, plan ahead and make provisions through a will or trust.

This is crucial, especially when dealing with adopted children.

California estate planning attorneys possess expertise in the legalities of inheritance rights for adopted children.

They offer valuable insights to both biological and adoptive parents regarding estate planning.

For adopted children unsure about inheritance rights, an experienced estate planning lawyer can conduct a thorough case review.

They explain the relationships and laws governing the adopted party’s rights.

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