In this case, there wasn’t a lot of information other than the fact that this man had adopted his wife’s child, but wanted to make sure that all of his inheritances in his Will would pass only to his bloodline.
Legally, as soon as you adopt a child, it is considered YOUR child for all intents and purposes. By law, there is no distinction between a child by blood and a child by adoption. Generally, when the adoption is finalized, the child loses the legal connection to the birth parents and gains the legal connection to the adoptive parents.
This is different than the status of a step-child. A step-child is not considered your child for any legal action, even though you were the parent for the child’s entire life.
There are ways of drafting your Will, Trust or other estate planning documents to create your desired end result.
You can disinherit any of your children by putting the language into the document. It doesn’t have to be an adopted child. I have had clients who wanted to make sure that one of their children did not get anything when they died because of things that child did, or perhaps they have already given one child more than his or her share and now wanted to make sure that what was left would go to another child.
Some people also give different amounts to different children by naming them specifically along with a percentage of the estate value
In this man’s case, he could write his Will so that his adopted child did not inherit something that he felt strongly should be kept in the blood line.
I’ve also had clients who wanted to make sure that their step-children were treated the same as their biological children. I had one client who wanted to make sure that their son’s step-daughter was treated as any of their other grandchildren.
This is relatively easy to accomplish with the right drafting, but you need to make sure it is done correctly or you will not get your desired result. Even worse, you might end up with a document that causes your family to spend lots of dollars, even the entire value of your estate, in litigation to fight over what you really meant when you wrote that you wanted your things to go to ‘your bloodline’. This is one good example of why it is important to go to an Estate Planning professional instead of trying a ‘do it yourself’ plan that you find in the store, on software, or on the internet.
If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.