The Succession Rights of Adopted Adults: Trying to Fit a Square Peg into a Round Hole

41 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2011

See all articles by Peter T. Wendel

Peter T. Wendel

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law

Date Written: March 2011

Abstract

In this Article, Professor Wendel examines the adult adoption paradigm and three specific sub-paradigm scenarios: (1) same-sex partner adult adoption, (2) heir designation adult adoption, and (3) stepparent/foster parent adult adoption. First, he discusses the traditional legal analysis for adult adoptions, in which the parties are granted the full inheritance rights attached to a parent-child relationship. He then argues that this analysis fails to take the relationship of the parties into sufficient consideration. He proposes instead that the general rule for adult adoptions should be that adopted adults are permitted to inherit from each other (partial inheritance rights) but not through each other (full inheritance rights) from a third party, unless a testamentary instrument either expressly includes adopted adults, or the adoptee is specifically named as a beneficiary. According to Professor Wendel, this succession scheme better reflects the nature of the underlying relationship between the parties and the presumed intent of the average decedent.

Keywords: adoption, adopt, will, testament, testamentary, same-sex, marriage, parent, child, spouse, foster parent, stepparent, adoptee, beneficiary, decedent

Suggested Citation

Wendel, Peter T., The Succession Rights of Adopted Adults: Trying to Fit a Square Peg into a Round Hole (March 2011). Creighton Law Review, Vol. 43, 2010, Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011/2, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1777584

Peter T. Wendel (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States

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