Does a legally adopted child have more of a claim on a deceased parent’s estate than hereditary children?

UPDATED: Sep 7, 2011

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Does a legally adopted child have more of a claim on a deceased parent’s estate than hereditary children?

Father had joint Will with first wife (adopted mother), who passed 14 years ago; remarried 9 years ago. Second wife passed a month ago. Father passed recently. No known Will exists other than original joint Will. Second wife had 1 son, unknown whether she left a personal Will. Father had 2 sons, 1 of whom was adopted (me) and 2 daughters. Somewhat hostile family situation. Hereditary son was to be the executor of original Will. In the absence of a more current Will, it is unknown whether or not this falls under intestacy.

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If a child has been adopted by a person, under each state's intestacy laws (laws created by a state where assets of a person pass where there is no known will) the adopted child stands in the same legal position as the natural children of the deceased. Under the laws of each state, for intestacy purposes, the adopted child is deemed the natural child of the person who passed away.

If the original joint will was created, dated and signed before the adoption of the child by the deceased parent, the adopted child if not named in the will could claim some entitlement to the estate of the deceased parent as a "pretermitted heir."

Meaning, an heir that normally would be entitled to receipt of a deceased person's assets under a state's intestacy laws would be entitled to the same if he or she was not specifically mentioned in the person's will and specifically not given any gift.

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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