For parents that have adopted children, it is important to understand how the law understands adopted children to be part of their families. In the estate planning process, our clients that have adopted children often want to make sure that their kids are well taken care of after their passing. Today, we cover whether adopted children are able to inherit once their parents die.
Under the law in Texas (specifically, Texas Estates Code Section 201.054), adopted children are considered the children of their adopted parents. Therefore, even if a child is adopted, that child inherits as if he or she were the biological child of his or her parents. This comports with adoption laws nationwide, which generally consider an adoptive child to have the exact same rights and privileges as a biological child.
Importantly, this section applies to children adopted through formal procedures; thus, if you have “informally” adopted a child, or if you consider a child to be like your adopted child, this section will not apply to you. The State of Texas must recognize the familial relationship in order for this provision to treat you and your adopted children as though you are biologically related. Understanding this is crucial to avoid one of the more common estate planning mistake among adoptive families.
Even with this Estates Code provision, it can be helpful to specifically include adopted children in your will if you are undergoing the estate planning process. By creating explicit instructions for how you want your property to be distributed upon your death, you can make sure there is no room for error in interpretation when your loved ones are making arrangements after your death.
Overall, estate planning can be a complicated process, especially for families that have non-traditional aspects and want to make sure their loved ones are provided for. If you have questions about how Section 201.054 might apply to you and your family, the best thing you can do for yourself is speak with an experienced estate planning attorney that can consider your individualized circumstances and ensure that you are doing all the right things to plan for the future.
Are You in Need of an Estate Planning Attorney in Texas?
If you are in the process of considering various estate planning options, call our office at McCulloch & Miller today. We offer a wide range of legal services, including estate planning, asset protection, probate representation, and elder care. Our team has decades of experience serving the Houston community, and we would be honored to help you take care of your loved ones as you think through your estate plan. For a phone consultation with a member of our team, give us a call today at 713-936-9073. You also have the option of filling out our online form to tell us about yourself and have an estate planning attorney reach back out to you as soon as possible.