Experts estimate that about 135,000 children are adopted each year in the United States alone. While bringing an adopted child into your home can be beneficial, adoption often presents some unique problems when it comes to inheritance.
In order to ensure that your adopted child is provided for in the event of your death, here are three circumstances you should prepare for when planning your estate.
1. Adopting a child that is not related to you.
Making the choice to adopt a child you have no relation to can be exciting. Many couples find that these types of adoptions provide a way for them to build their family when traditional pregnancy methods fail.
Fortunately, the law recognizes adopted parents as the sole parents of any non-related children who have been adopted. Work with your attorney to establish a valid will, and your adopted child will be taken care of according to your wishes after your passing.
2. Adopting a child from a relative.
Sometimes adoptions occur because one relative doesn't have the ability to provide for a child. Another relative, like a grandmother or aunt, will take custody of the child through the adoption process. In these types of adoptions, it is essential that you have filed the necessary termination of parental rights paperwork.
Both biological parents must typically agree to give up their rights as a parent, and having documentation will allow your attorney to include your adopted relative as a beneficiary in your estate.
3. Adopting your spouse's child.
Blended families are becoming more common in today's social landscape. If you want to ensure that your stepchild will be provided for in the event of your death, completing the adoption process can be beneficial. In order to include your stepchild in your will, you must have your spouses ex terminate his or her parental rights. If this proves to be a difficult task, you can have parental rights terminated by a court of law.
You need to prove that your spouse's ex has abandoned the child through lack of communication, prove that your spouse's ex is unfit to be a parent due to lack of resources, or show that the father (where applicable) listed on the child's birth certificate is not the real father in order to terminate parental rights. Once this process is complete, you can validate your adoption and include your stepchild in your estate plans.
Being able to provide for an adopted child after your death doesn't have to be difficult. Take the time to identify the type of adoption arrangements you have made, and then work with your attorney to take the steps necessary to include your adopted child in the estate planning process.
To learn more, contact a law firm like Gruber & Associates, PC.