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Author Topic: Who can inherit?  (Read 8169 times)

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Elena

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Who can inherit?
« on: September 20, 2008, 10:15:07 PM »

This involves a child who has been legally adopted by what was a step father. This means that the child's last name and birth certificate are the new father's name and the biological father has legally dropped all claims on the relationship. It takes a court order to get to the sealed original birth certificate. 

Many years later the "child" dies.  If not specifically named in the will, does the extended family of the legal father have any claim on the estate?

While I know this can vary from state to state, I'd be interested in knowing how it does play out in various places.

Elena
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Elena

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Re: Who can inherit?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2008, 11:41:20 PM »

I'm not surprised no one wanted to tackle this one - after talking to several people, including a couple of lawyers, the best answer I got is that anyone can try taking a claim to court if they want to.  Whether or not they will get anywhere is another story.

Thought it might be a nice little sub-plot, but it turns out to be better suited for it's own book, or for a running gag.

Thanks to all who read this.  I'm working at having simpler thoughts about things I actually know!

Elena
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Brenda B.

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Re: Who can inherit?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2008, 02:47:48 PM »

That sure would make it tricky for the detectives to figure out a motive. Who exactly would think they might inherit?  Would keep the reader guessing, too!

We used to in ages past, have a lawyer or two on MWF, but I'm guessing that's not the case right now. Glad you were able to get answers, such as they were, elsewhere.
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Kathy Wendorff

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Re: Who can inherit?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2008, 07:11:22 AM »

The one thing that I would add is -- as far as I know, as an adoptive parent and not a lawyer -- in this country, an adopted child is the same as a birth child in the eyes of the law. Period. No asterisks, exceptions, funky addendums.  How the child entered the family is no more relevant than whether they were born by C-section or natural childbirth.

Once an adoption is final, that child has zero legal claim on the birth parents (and vice versa) and total legal claim on the adoptive parents.

You can check on adoption web sites, but this is my understanding.

Kathy W.

   
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Lynette

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Re: Who can inherit?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2008, 09:24:07 AM »

Elena, I talked with a lawyer friend of mine last night and he said the same thing Kathy did. In NC an adopted child has the same legal rights as a birth child. Therefore his/her decendents would have the same rights as children of the birth children. If the the adopted decendents wanted to inherit from the birth parent of their mother/father they would have to sue them just as any outsider would. Hope this is not too confusing.

I agree you have an interesting start for a good story.

Lynette

Elena

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Re: Who can inherit?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2008, 11:12:06 AM »

Thank you Kathy and Lynette,

I really appreciate you looking into this for me.

My question was rather the opposite of the rights of the adoptive child and the birth parents.  I was wondering if the here-to-for unknown extended family of the adopting parent had any rights under the law to claim inheritance upon the death of the now wealthy and adult adopted child.

However, it does sound as though a logical extension of the rights of the adopted child would indicate that the adoptive extended family have the same claim whether or not the deceased had been adopted as a child.  Or to put it more clearly - the adoption doesn't, in general, enter into this situation.

All of which argues to me that to make this an issue is  too convoluted for a sub-plot in my current WIP. Shucks darn!

Off it goes into my "Spin a yarn" file.
Again, my thanks,
Elena
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