Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Adoption & Estate Entitlement

Question: My biological mother died recently. She gave me up for adoption at birth. I found her years later and reestablished a parent-child relationship with her.  I would like to know if there is any chance that I would be entitled to her estate as her only biological child. I am listed on the death certificate as the only child. Answer: If your adoption was legal in Maryland, then that process not only terminated your mother’s parental rights, but terminated your birth and legal rights against your birth mother. The termination of your birth and legal rights would preclude you from being considered the heir of your birth mother (unless she specifically provides to the contrary in her will and wished for you to be treated as a child for purposes of inheritance). It is possible, but unlikely, that if your mother died in a state other than Maryland, then that other state’s laws could provide a different result.


Steve Shane Head Shot for webSteve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.

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