Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children - North Dakota

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Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person

Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-14

Except with respect to the spouse of a petitioner or relatives of the spouse, a final decree of adoption terminates all legal relationships between the adopted person and the person's birth relatives, including the birth parents, so that the adopted person thereafter is a stranger to his or her former relatives for all purposes, including inheritance.

If a parent of a child dies without the relationship of parent and child 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.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person

Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-14

A final decree of adoption creates the relationship of parent and child between petitioner and the adopted individual, as if the adopted individual were a legitimate blood descendant of the petitioner, for all purposes including inheritance.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will

Citation: Cent. Code §§ 30.1-06-02 (2-302); 30.1-09.1-05 (2-705)

If a testator fails to provide in his or her will for any child who was adopted after the execution of the will, the omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate as follows:

  • If the testator had no 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 gave all or substantially all the estate to the other parent of the omitted child and that other parent survives the testator and is entitled to take under the will.
  • If the testator had one or more children living when he or she executed the will, and the will gave 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 estate as follows:
    • The portion of the estate that 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, as limited above, that the child would have received had the testator included all omitted after-born and after-adopted children with the children to whom bequest were made under the will and had given an equal share of the estate to each child.

None of the 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 with the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision.

Adopted individuals, individuals born out of wedlock, and their respective descendants, if appropriate to the class, are included in class gifts and other terms of relationship in accordance with the rules for intestate succession.