I was Adopted, Can I Claim?

Every once in a while, I’m asked: ‘I was adopted. I’ve just heard of the death of my biological mother. Can I make a claim on her estate?’

A slightly unchivalrous phrase comes to mind: ‘double dipping’. The short answer to the question is ‘no’. No, if one is adopted, one cannot make a claim on the estate of one’s birth parents.

In inheritance and succession there is no difference between adoptive parents on the one hand and birth parents on the other. To the extent a child has any rights, they are the same for both birth and adoptive children. Of course the birth parents are free to make gifts to whomever they please, and this would include children who had been adopted into another family.

The less than charitable response to the query is that the interlocutor knows they would ordinarily be eligible to inherit from their adoptive parents’ estates. Two sets of parents from whom to inherit—double dipping.

What to Read NextHeir Hunters & You