Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children - New York

Date: February 2016

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person

Citation: Dom. Rel. Law § 117

After the making of an order of adoption, the birth parents of the adoptive child shall be relieved of all parental duties toward and of all responsibilities for and shall have no rights over such adoptive child or to his or her property by descent or succession. The right of an adopted child to inheritance and succession from and through his or her birth parents shall terminate upon the order of adoption.

When a birth or adoptive parent, having lawful custody of a child, marries or remarries and consents that the stepparent may adopt the child, such consent shall not relieve the parent so consenting of any parental duty toward the child, nor shall consent or the order of adoption affect the rights of the consenting spouse and the adoptive child to inherit from and through each other and the birth and adopted kindred of the consenting spouse.

Notwithstanding the above, and as to estates of persons dying after August 31, 1987, if the decedent is the adoptive child's birth grandparent or is a descendant of such grandparent, and an adoptive parent is married to the child's birth parent, is the child's birth grandparent, or is descended from such grandparent, then the rights of an adoptive child to inheritance and succession from and through either birth parent shall not terminate upon the making of the order of adoption. However, an adoptive child who is related to the decedent both by birth relationship and by adoption shall be entitled to inherit only under the birth relationship unless the decedent also is the adoptive parent, in which case the adoptive child shall then be entitled to inherit pursuant to the adoptive relationship only.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person

Citation: Dom. Rel. Law § 117

The adoptive parent(s) and the adopted child shall sustain toward each other the legal relation of parent and child and shall have all the rights and be subject to all the duties of that relation, including the rights of inheritance from and through each other.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will

Citation: Est. Pow. & Trst. Law § 2-1.3

Unless the creator of a will expresses a contrary intention, a disposition of property to persons described in any instrument as the issue, children, descendants, heirs, heirs-at-law, next-of-kin, or distributees (or by any term of like import) of the creator or of another, includes adopted children and their issue in their adoptive relationship. The rights of adopted children and their issue to receive a disposition under wills and lifetime instruments as a member of such class of persons based upon their birth relationship shall be governed by the provisions of § 117(2) of the domestic relations law.