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Estate planning and adoption

One of the most overlooked aspects of the adoption process can be modifying your estate plan to reflect your family’s newest addition. Many people use their estate plans to provide for their children after the inevitable.

If you have questions about estate planning before or after adoption, contact Christina T. Sherman, PLLC.

Adoption estate planning

Estate planning before adoption

As you work through the adoption process, you may want to make provisions in your estate plan to provide for the adoptee if you die unexpectedly and cannot make the adoption fully legal. Without those provisions, the child may not be able to receive benefits from your estate even if the adoption was inevitable.

An adoption must comply with all applicable laws and be correctly finalized so the new member of the family has the same rights to an inheritance as a biological child. As a result, parents that intend to include adopted children in their estate plans must be deliberate during the adoption process and ensure that their adoption is fully legal on completion.

Since adopted children enjoy the same legal rights as biological children, prospective adoptive parents may choose to create estate planning documents using blanketed language to avoid having to make significant changes later.

Instead of designating that equal portions be distributed to Child A, Child B and Child C, a parent could say in the terms of their will or trust that their assets should be divided equally between all their children.

Estate planning after adoption

When a child is adopted, parents and possibly grandparents must modify their estate plans because the needs of their estate have changed.

In addition, it is imperative that new parents designate who they would want their child’s guardian to be in the event they unexpectedly become incapacitated or die. Putting a contingency plan in place can make your wishes known and protect your child from having to undergo a custody dispute.

If your adopted child is a minor or has special needs, your estate plan should outline how their care will be financed and carried out after your death. Appointing a legal guardian to make decisions about the adoptee’s life in your absence can help maintain the child’s health and safety until they can make those decisions on their own.

“There really aren’t words to truly express how happy and grateful I am.”

quote - Estate planning before and after adoption

Your family is important to us. Contact us today.

Estate planning and adoption are both complex processes, and there is a broad range of factors that may further complicate either one. Attorney Christina T. Sherman will listen to your adoption goals and help you create an estate plan that helps protect you and your child. After adoption, our firm can assist you in identifying areas of your existing estate plan that should be modified to provide safety and stability for your child.

We serve clients throughout Tacoma, Pierce County, King County, Thurston County, Kitsap County, and the Western Washington area.

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