Adult Adoptions: Can It Be Done?

Posted on: 22 September 2016

People adopting minor children is commonplace, but it may surprise many to know that adults sometimes wish to legalize their relationship by adopting another adult. This may sound strange, but read on to learn more and you will soon see the reasoning for this practice.

Why Adults Adopt Other Adults

1. For estate planning purposes, similar to the property that is left to a spouse, property that is left to the children of the deceased is in a protected category, and legally adopted children are held in the same regard. Legally adopting another adult can give that adult a special status for inheritance purposes and is far more likely to stand up to a contesting of the will.

2. Many people wish to formally recognize adults who are actually biological children, but were previously unknown to them. Additionally, some people wish to acknowledge adults that are adult step-children or a formally fostered adult.

3. Adults who are incapacitated, either physically or mentally, may be adopted to ensure for the ongoing care in the event of a death. For example, if a close family friend has no other family to care for them and is mentally incapacitated, another concerned adult could make provisions for the continued care of the adult by legally adopting them.

Bad Motivations for Adopting an Adult

1. Sexual relationships between the two adults preclude adoption actions. The relationship must be parent-child in nature. This includes same-sex couples.

2. The adopted person must be younger than the adult adopting them. Exceptions are often made, however, in the case of adults that are mentally or physically incapacitated.

3. The court will take a closer look at adult adoptions to ensure that there is no attempt at the perpetration of fraud. For example, an adult who convinces another adult to adopt them in order to inherit property or other fraudulent activities.

Some Points to Keep in Mind

1. The consent of the adult being adopted is required, unless they are incapacitated. In some states, the interested spouses of the parties must also consent to the adoption.

2. Once approved by the courts, a new birth certificate is provided. The adopted adult has the option to change or append their last name, if desired.

3. It's important to note that if the adoption is approved, all ties with the biological parents of the adoptee are legally severed.

4. Just as with the adoption of a minor child, the adoptee has the right to have the court records sealed.

If you have more questions about adoption, talk to a local family law attorney, such as those found at Dunnigan & Messier P.C.