Most people know how important it is to update your estate plan when you experience big life changes; this includes moving, getting married, having a child… and it especially includes adopting a child.
A recent article in Forbes reminds us that “An adopted child only has rights to your estate once the adoption has been finalized. The length of time it takes to finalize an adoption depends on where the adoption was initiated as well as a host of other factors. This process can take anywhere from six months to several years to complete. In the event that you pass away before this process is complete, it is likely the child would not be entitled to any of your assets.”
Creating or updating an estate plan is one way to ensure that the child of an adoption-in-progress receives the rights and benefits he or she needs. An estate plan can not only provide financially for your adopted child through your will or trust, but can also nominate guardians for the child, make provisions for the child’s medical treatment (if necessary), and specify your wishes for the child’s future education or living arrangements.
The article above points out that “Particularly in the case of an open adoption, it is important to establish a good relationship with the individuals outside your immediate family, such as the child’s birth parents, who will have a direct interest in your child’s life.” Making provisions in your estate plan for birth parents or grandparents can smooth the way for your child and for the guardians you’ve chosen if anything should happen to you.
Anyone with children should have detailed and updated estate plan; but for families with adopted children having a plan in place is of the utmost importance.