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Are you adopted or have you adopted a child? If so it’s important to be clear on your rights and the rights of your adopted children when it comes to inheritance.

A guide to the Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

A guide to the Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

If a person dies intestate (dies without having made a Will) then both biological children and adopted children of the deceased have the exact same rights to inherit any share of the estate as each other.

UK Law

However, this is dependent on whether the adopted children have been validly adopted under UK law. If a child is adopted abroad and this foreign adoption was not formalised under UK law then this entitlement for the adopted children may not exist.

When an adoption takes place, it creates a legal relationship between the adoptive parents and the adopted child(ren). In addition to the right to receive a share of the adoptive parents’ estate under intestacy laws, an adopted child MAY also have the legal right to inherit from their biological parents under the same laws.


Inheriting from biological parents

 It depends on whether the child was adopted before or after the death of their biological parents. If a child was orphaned and adopted at a later date then he/she would still have the right to inherit from their biological parents. If the child is adopted before the death of their biological parents then, if the adoption is formalised under UK law, the legal relationship between the child and biological parent is severed and the child loses the legal right to inherit from their biological parents.

Under the Rules of Intestacy, ONLY biological or adopted children can inherit from the (adoptive) parents. As a result, this will not include step-children that have not been legally adopted or foster children.

The rules of intestacy

 The Rules of Intestacy do not cover children who are in the process of being adopted. Therefore if the adoptive parent dies before the adoption has been fully finalised then the child will not gain the automatic rights to inherit any share of the estate of the parents.

If you are adopted or are an adoptive parent, or simply if you are thinking about adoption in the future, it is important that you know your legal stance when it comes to Inheritance Rights.

Organising your estate for when you pass away through the creation/amendment of a Will can give you and your family peace of mind.


Book an appointment with us today to receive personal advice on your situation and answers on any questions you may have regarding the Inheritance Laws surrounding adoption.


Book a free consultation with one of our legal experts, call 01342 477 102 or fill out our contact form.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.