Can an adopted daughter sue her biological brothers to receive a portion of her biological mother’s estate?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an adopted daughter sue her biological brothers to receive a portion of her biological mother’s estate?

She was legally adopted by her biological uncle and only met her biological

mother a few times, as well as to her biological brothers.

Asked on June 12, 2018 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First, if the estate has already been "settled" or gone all the way through probate and been distributed, it's too late for anyone to take any action: claims must be put in before probate ends.
Second, and more importantly, when a child is legally adopted, the parental ties to the biological parents are cut off and she becomes legally the child of the adopted parent(s). As a result, she--not being in the law's eyes a child of the biological parent(s) any more, has no right to inherit from them unless there was a will which by its plain terms left her something. (For example, a will stating that something was left to the child put up for adopotion, or to "all issue of my body"--i.e. any biological children regardless of parental/adoption status.)

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 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.

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