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Inheritance Rights and Adoption

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Estate Planning Lawyers in Toronto, Ontario

The best time to prepare a Will is when you are in good health and not experiencing a health crisis. It will give you chance to consider all relevant information pertaining to the division of property and your assets. Each Will shall vary according to the individual’s specific circumstances. It is important to consider the legal nuances if you are a parent of adopted children and are preparing a Will to divide your estate.

When a child is adopted, the relationship between a child and his or her parents is described in s.217 of the CYFSA. Legally, an adopted child has exactly the same legal status as a biological child of that parent. The same standard will apply if an adoptive parent passes away and the Will makes a gift to the children of the parent. In a legal ability to inherit, the biological children and adoptive children will be treated equally, unless specified otherwise in the Will. However, if a biological parent leaves a Will dividing his or her assets among his or her “children”, the Will shall not apply to biological children of that parent who have been adopted by someone else, unless that child or children are included as beneficiaries. The automatic legal right to inherit as a child is extinguished because a biological parent’s legal right ceases as a parent when an adoption order is made for that child.

When a birth parent wants to include a biological child adopted by someone else in their Will, they need to be clear in the Will about the specific of the asset division as well as how to contact the biological child/children so the estate manager can execute the wish. If a birth parent dies without a Will or does not include the biological child/children in the Will, the biological child/children will not automatically inherit from them, unlike you would from the adoptive parent leaving their assets to their “child” or “children”.

If a biological child who was adopted wants to contest a birth parents Will, they may have a hard time since the legal connection is missing. However, these situations depend on the relationship between the biological child and the birth parent, the outcome can vary based on individual circumstances.

It is best to consult a Wills and Estate lawyer if you have any questions about inheritance rights of adopted children. If a birth parent or adoptive parent is worried about their child’s ability to inherit from their Will/Estate, a lawyer can help draft a valid Will as it is prudent to use the correct wording when specifying what the child will inherit. A lawyer can also ensure that all specifics are included in the Will to create the outcome the parent wants and give assurance that their loved ones will be cared for after they are gone.

Did You Know

Most abusers’ behaviour stems from feelings of privilege and entitlement and learned attitudes.

These can be extremely challenging to change. They must be deeply committed to making lasting changes to their behaviour. 

Published On:February 23, 2022