Do I have any legal rights to inherit something from my foster parent? - Estate Planning Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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Do I have any legal rights to inherit something from my foster parent?

I was raised by a woman who was a friend of the family. She asked for me because my birth mother was poor, and she (the woman) had "always wanted a little girl." This woman became just like my mother I called and continue to call her mom. My birth mother relinquished all claims to me, and never again participated in my life, or any decisions relating to me. She did not wish to do this, but was persuaded to do so by this woman, and my grandmother. This woman acted as mother of the bride at my wedding, has been a grandmother to my children, and we have maintained a relationship no different from that of a natural born child and mother. Now, she is dying, and will be intestate. She has only one natural child, and this child has informed me that I am not really his mother's child, and have no legal rights to inherit. Is this true?

Horn & Johnsen SC
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Unfortunately, Wisconsin law does not recognize any legal inheritance rights for foster children. However, if she named you as a direct beneficiary on a life insurance policy or another asset with a beneficiary attached to it, then you would receive the share designated for you upon her death.

Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 2/1/2012

Ashman Law Office
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If she wants you to inherit she will write a will, with a lawyer's help, and include you. You will then inherit. If she wants you not to inherit, she will fail to write a will, and legally that is a clear statement that you cannot inherit and she does not want you to inherit. Without a will you get zero.

Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 2/1/2012


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The problem is proving that there would have been an adoption but for a legal impediment.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/31/2012

Answer By Frances Headley

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You may have a parent child relationship and qualify as an heir under the Probate code. You should consult a probate attorney to review all of the facts to determine if you qualify.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/30/2012

Answer By Norm R Perry

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NoBeing a foster child gives you no rights. Since you are neither her blood relative nor her adopted child, you have no rights unless she has a valid will or trust naming you as an heir or a form of joint ownership with you.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/27/2012

Answer By William Spern

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The woman's daughter is right. You have not right to take intestate in MI. You have no claim absent estate planning efforts. If the woman wants you to receive a portion of her estate, she must set up a joint account naming you as con-owner or beneficiary, a insurance policy naming you as a beneficiary or a will or a trust that gives you a portion of her estate.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/27/2012

Answer By Geoff Germane

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Unfortunately, yes, that is true. A foster child does not have a right to inheritance from a foster parent in intestacy. A right to inherit belongs only to natural-born (where the parent-child relationship is not severed by adoption by another parent) or adopted children. Not even step children have a right to inheritance in intestacy.

Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 1/27/2012

North Sound Law, PS
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Because you are not legally related to this woman, if she dies intestate (without a Will) you do not have a right to inherit from her estate. Only legally related children (by birth or adoption) are considered descendents under the intestacy statute. However, if she is still competent to make out a Will and if she wants to include you in it, then she may certainly do so.

Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/27/2012

Answer By J. Brian Thomas
Law Office of J. Brian Thomas
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You may very well have an inheritance to be concerned about here. Texas permits what lawyers and judges call "equitable adoption." We use that term to describe very much the same circumstance that you've outlined in your facts. You treated her as your mother, and she treated you as her child. With enough facts to support this informal relationship, a Court could quite easily reach a determination that you are as much an heir of this individual as any naturally-born or formally-adopted child. The better question is why you the woman would leave this issue to chance with an intestate death. If she's capable of executing a Will, none of this likely matters.

Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 1/27/2012

Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
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Yes. The only wait to inherit is if she legally adopts you OR if she includes you as a beneficiary in her Will or Trust.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/27/2012

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