I am adopted. Can I still make a claim for inheritance?

Published 06 Sep 2018

If a person dies intestate, it can be difficult for a family to determine how to split up possessions among living heirs. But even if a Will does exist, children or other relatives may decide to contest it if they feel they deserve more than their family member left them.

What happens if the deceased had adopted a child?

Adopted children are considered 'natural' children

Under the Succession Act 2006, Section 109 states that an adopted child is to be treated as a natural child of the adoptive parent or parents. Additionally, the Act points out that:

  • The family relationships are to be determined accordingly.
  • Family relationships that exist as a matter of biological fact, and are not consistent with the relationship created by adoption, are to be ignored.

Thus, an adopted child would be able to make a claim for inheritance or contest the Will of an adoptive parent, since they are considered to be the child of those parents. Claims would proceed without the need to mention that the child was adopted.

Contesting a Will of birth parents

However, if an adopted child is trying to make a claim for inheritance from a birth parent, it is more complicated. Under the Adoption Act 2000, when a child is adopted, they cease to be legal children of their birth parents, and the birth parents cease to be legal parents of the child.

So if someone who was adopted tries to claim inheritance from the estate of a birth parent, they would not have those rights, as they are no longer their child by law. They would not be considered an 'eligible person' who could contest a Will under the Succession Act.

It is important to note, however, that Section 97 of the Adoption Act states that the adoption would not prevent the adopted child from obtaining vested or contingent property right that was acquired before the adoption order was made.

If you believe that you have been treated unfairly in a Will, or that you may be eligible to claim for inheritance, get in touch with us for a free consultation. Our experienced team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers can assist you with your claim and help you understand your rights.

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