If land that was left to family members, does an adopted child have legal rights to it?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If land that was left to family members, does an adopted child have legal rights to it?

Asked on September 3, 2012 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

Mark Siegel / Law Office of Mark A. Siegel

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You did not state whether the deceased had a valid will at the time of death.

Under NY law, when a person dies without a will, distribution of their property (known as intestate succession) is governed by § 4-1.1 of the NY Estates Powers & Trusts Law, and distributees under this law include the children of the decedent.

The NY Domestic Relations Law provides that: "The adoptive parents or parent and the adoptive child shall sustain toward each other the legal relation of parent and child and shall have all the rights and be subject to all the duties of that relation including the rights of inheritance from and through each other..."

So if there is no will and the child was legally adopted, then the child inherits under the intestate succession law, with the the same rights to the property of the deceased, as that of any other child who survived the deceased.

However, if the deceased had a valid will at the time of death, the will may provide that the property is to be left to all, some or none of the children, whether adopted or biological. You may want to check with the clerk of the Surrogate's Court in the county where the deceased resided at the time of death, to see if a will has been filed with court.

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The answer to this question depends on circumstances.  When a child is adopted, he or she becomes a member of the family under the law and is treated like a biological child.  So, if this land was left in a will to family members as "family members" (not by name), the adopted child would participate in the inheritance.  Of course, if the will listed people by name, the land would go to only those people.  If the owner died without a will and the law says it goes to "children," the adopted child would also participate.

In Florida, minor children have certain rights to inherit homestead property under the state constitution.  This would include an adopted child.

Does that answer your question?


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption