Can My Adopted Child Claim a Share of His Birth Father’s Estate?

Recently a client contacted me with a question about her  adoptive son’s right to claim a share of his birth father’s estate. She was under the impression that the adoption relieved the father of all obligations to the child and wanted to know if she was correct.

Generally an adopted child does not have the right to an inheritance from the estate of his birth parent. An order of adoption relieves the birth parent of all parental duties and of all responsibilities toward the adopted child. At the same time, the birth parent loses all rights to the estate of the child who has been adopted, including the right to serve as administrator of that child’s estate and the right to inherit under the intestacy statutes.

Although  there are a few exceptions to the rule, generally a child who has been adopted out does not have a legal basis for demanding a share of his birth father’s estate.


Linda M. Toga of The Law Offices of Linda M. Toga, P.C. is an East Setauket, New York attorney with a general law practice focusing on estate planning, real estate, marital planning, small business services and litigation.