Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children
Citation: Alaska Stat. §§ 25.23.130; 13.12.114
A final decree of adoption relieves the birth parents of the adopted person of all parental rights and responsibilities and terminates all legal relationships between the adopted person and the birth parents and other relatives of the adopted person. Thereafter, the adopted person is a stranger to the former relatives for all purposes, including inheritance, unless:
- The decree of adoption specifically provides for continuation of inheritance rights.
- The interpretation or construction of documents, statutes, and instruments, whether executed before or after the adoption is decreed, expressly include the person by name or by some designation not based on a parent and child or blood relationship.
A decree terminating parental rights on the grounds set out in § 25.23.180(c)(3) [that the parent committed sexual assault or sexual abuse of a minor that resulted in the conception of the child] voids all legal relationships between the child and the birth parent for all purposes, except that inheritance rights between a child and a birth parent are not voided by the decree terminating parental rights unless the decree specifically provides for the termination of inheritance rights.If a parent of a child dies without parental rights having been previously terminated, and a spouse of the surviving parent thereafter adopts the child, the child’s right of inheritance from or through the deceased parent is unaffected by the adoption.
An adopted person is the child of the person’s adopting parent(s) and not of the person’s birth parents, but adoption of a child by the spouse of either birth parent does not affect:
- The relationship between the child and that birth parent
- The right of the child or a descendant of the child to inherit from or through the other birth parent
Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Alaska Stat. § 25.23.130
A final decree of adoption creates the relationship of parent and child between petitioner and the adopted person, as if the adopted person were a legitimate blood descendant of the petitioner, for all purposes including inheritance.
Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Alaska Stat. §§ 13.12.705; 13.12.302
Adopted individuals and their descendants, if appropriate to the class, are included in class gifts and other terms of relationship in accordance with the rules for intestate succession.If a testator fails to provide in his or her will for children who were adopted after the execution of the will, the omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate as follows:
- If the testator did not have a child living when he or she executed the will, an omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to that which the child would have received had the testator died intestate, unless the will gives all or substantially all of the estate to the other parent of the omitted child and that other parent survives the testator and is entitled to inherit under the will.
- If the testator had one or more children living when he or she executed the will, and the will gives property or an interest in property to one or more of the then-living children, an omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share in the testator’s estate as follows:
- The portion of the estate in which the omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share is limited to bequests made to the testator’s then-living children under the will.
- The omitted after-adopted child is entitled to receive the share of the estate that the child would have received had the testator included all omitted after-born and after-adopted children with the children to whom bequests were made under the will and had given an equal share of the estate to each child.
Neither provision above applies if:
- It appears from the will that the omission was intentional.
- The testator provided for the omitted after-adopted child by transfer outside the will and the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision is shown by the testator’s statements or is reasonably inferred from the amount of the transfer or other evidence.