TN 29 (10-05)

GN 00306.170 State Laws on the Right of Adopted Child to Inherit From Natural Parent

Policy

STATE

INHERITANCE RIGHTS STATUTE

Alabama

May inherit for determinations before 5/7/84. For determinations on or after 5/7/84, may inherit only if child is adopted by the spouse of a natural parent.

Alaska

May inherit.

American Samoa

Submit to RCC under GN 01010.815 ff.

Arizona

Submit to RCC if either interlocutory or final decree of adoption entered before 5/26/52. If both decrees entered on or after that date, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent.

Arkansas

May inherit if adopted prior to 7/5/77. Effective with adoptions on or after that date, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent.

California

May not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent and retains custody and control of child.

Colorado

May inherit if natural parent died before 5/1/61. If natural parent died on or after that date, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent.

Connecticut

May not inherit.

Delaware

May inherit if natural parent died before 7/1/52. If natural parent of child adopted after 6/30/52 dies after that date, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent. If adoption occurs before 7/1/52 and natural parent dies after that date, submit to RCC under GN 01010.815 ff.

District of Columbia

Child adopted after 8/24/37 may not inherit from natural parent unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent.

Florida

On or after 1/1/76, a child can inherit from the adopting parent(s) who die on or after that date but not from the natural parent(s) unless the child is adopted by the spouse of the natural parent. If the adopting or natural parent(s) died prior to 1/1/76, the adopted child could inherit from either or both the natural and adopting parent(s).

Georgia

Prior to 1/1/78, may inherit.

Effective 1/1/78, may not inherit except in limited circumstances where the parent died without having surrendered or terminated parental rights. Parental rights have not been surrendered or terminated when the parent:

  • Has abandoned the child,

  • Cannot be found after diligent search, or

  • Is insane or otherwise incapacitated from surrendering such rights, and the court is of the opinion that adoption is for the child's best interest.

Surrender or termination of parental rights is not a prerequisite to adoption if the petitioner for adoption is the spouse of the child's other parent, is the brother, sister, aunt, or uncle of the child, or is the son or daughter of either parent if the parent failed for one year or longer prior to the filing of the adoption petition to communicate (or make a bonafide effort to communicate) with the child, or provide for the care and support of the child under law or pursuant to a judicial decree if the court believes adoption is in the child's best interest.

Submit to RCC under GN 01010.815 ff. if there is a question about whether parental rights have been surrendered or terminated.

Guam

Submit to RCC under GN 01010.815 ff.

Hawaii

May not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent and dies on or after 7/1/53. If natural parent is spouse of adopting parent but dies before 7/1/53, submit to RCC under GN 01010.815 ff.

Idaho

May not inherit unless the natural parent is the spouse or surviving spouse of adopting parent. If biological parent died on or after 7/1/69 and before 1/1/77, child may not inherit unless he/she had attained majority at the time of adoption or was related to one or both of the adoptive parents within the fourth degree of consanguinity. Prior to 7/1/72, a child attained majority at age 21 or marriage, whichever occurred first. Beginning 7/1/72, a child attained majority at age 19 or marriage, whichever occurs first. Submit to RCC under GN 01010.815 ff. cases involving questions about the degree of consanguinity.

Illinois

May inherit if natural parent died before 1/1/98. If natural parent of child dies on or after 1/1/98, child may not inherit unless the child is adopted by a descendant or spouse of a descendant of a great-grandparent, or the natural parent died before the child was adopted.

Indiana

May inherit if natural parent died before 1/1/54. If natural parent dies after 12/31/53, child adopted during minority may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent. If natural parent dies after 7/5/61, child adopted during minority may not inherit unless such deceased natural parent or other natural parent is spouse of adopting parent and child was born in wedlock.

Iowa

May not inherit unless the natural parent is the spouse or surviving spouse of adopting parent. If biological parent died on or after 7/1/69 and before 1/1/77, child may not inherit unless he/she had attained majority at the time of adoption or was related to one or both of the adoptive parents within the fourth degree of consanguinity. Prior to 7/1/72, a child attained majority at age 21 or marriage, whichever occurred first. Beginning 7/1/72, a child attained majority at age 19 or marriage, whichever occurs first. Submit to RCC under GN 01010.815 ff. cases involving questions about the degree of consanguinity. The law in Iowa was amended to extinguish an adopted person's right of intestate succesion. Since 1981, an adopted child has no right to inherit from a biological parent. The only exception to the rule is that an adoption of a person by the spouse or surviving spouse of a biological parent has no effect on the relationship for inheritance purposes between the adopted person and the biological parent.

Kansas

May inherit.

Kentucky

May inherit if natural parent died before 2/27/56. If natural parent dies after 2/26/56, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent.

Louisiana

May inherit.

Maine

May inherit.

Maryland

May inherit if natural parent died prior to 6/1/63. If natural parent died after 5/31/63, child may not inherit.

Massachusetts

May inherit if natural parent died before 7/4/67. If adopted before natural parent's death and natural parent dies after 7/3/67, child may not inherit. Effective 4/1/00, although termination of parental rights of a child by way of a parental release given for purpose of adopting does not affect the child’s right to inherit from that parent, if the child is later adopted (or an interlocutory adoption decree is entered that is not later vacated or reversed), the child can inherit only from his or her adoptive parents, and not a natural parent whose rights were terminated. However, if a child is adopted by the spouse of a natural parent (i.e., a stepparent), this does not affect the child’s right to inherit from either natural parent, except that if a court terminates the other natural parent’s parental rights, the child can no longer inherit from that parent.

Michigan

May inherit if natural parent died before 1/1/75. If natural parent died on or after 1/1/75, child may not inherit. This is a change of position effective 1/21/85.
Effective 4/1/00, although termination of parental rights of a child by way of a parental release given for purposes of adoption does not affect the child’s right to inherit from that parent, if the child is later adopted (or an interlocutory adoption decree is entered that is not later vacated or reversed), the child can inherit only from his or her adoptive parents, and not from a natural parent whose rights were terminated. However, if a child is adopted by the spouse of a natural parent (i.e., a stepparent), this does not affect the child’s right to inherit from either natural parent, except that if a court terminates the other natural parent’s parental rights, the child can no longer inherit from that parent.

Minnesota

May inherit if child adopted before 4/19/51. If adopted after 4/18/51, may not inherit unless natural parent of spouse of an adopting parent.

Mississippi

May inherit unless provided otherwise in adoption decree.

Missouri

May not inherit except in some cases where adoption is by stepparent. When this is the case and natural parent who is spouse of stepparent is joint petitioner, child may inherit from such natural parent who dies after 5/20/48. Submit other cases where the natural parent is the spouse of the adopting stepparent to the RCC under GN 01010.815 ff.

Montana

May inherit if natural parent died before 10/1/81. If natural parent dies after 9/30/81, child may not inherit unless a natural parent is the spouse of the adopting parent.

Nebraska

May inherit if natural parent died before 1/1/77 unless child was adopted before 8/29/42 and the terms and conditions of consent and petition for adoption provide otherwise. If natural parent dies on or after 1/1/77, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent.

Nevada

May inherit if parent died before 3/28/53. If parent dies after 3/27/53, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent.

New Hampshire

May not inherit.

New Jersey

May inherit if natural parent died before 1/1/54. If natural parent dies after 12/31/53 and prior to 7/21/66, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent and consented to adoption. If either natural parent dies after 7/20/66, child may inherit from such natural parent if adopting parent is spouse of one natural parent and that natural parent consented to adoption.

New Mexico

May inherit if natural parent died before 6/8/51. If natural parent dies on or after that date, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent.

New York

May inherit if natural parent died before 3/1/64. If natural parent died on or after that date, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent and consented to adoption.

North Carolina

May inherit if adopted before 3/15/41. For adoptions on or after 3/15/41 through 3/10/49, a child adopted for life may not inherit except where otherwise the estate would revert to the State. A child adopted only for his/her minority may inherit.  

A child adopted on or after 3/11/49 may not inherit except where adoption proceedings began before that date and were completed after that date in accordance with law in effect from 3/15/41 through 3/10/49. In such cases the above rule covering that period would apply. A child adopted after 1/11/55 may not inherit.

North Dakota

Children adopted by proceedings which were pending on or before 7/1/71 may inherit. If adoption proceedings instituted after that date, child may not inherit except from a natural parent who:

  • Is the spouse of the petitioner in the adoption proceedings, or

  • Died without the parent-child relationship having been terminated when the child is subsequently adopted by a spouse of the surviving natural parent.

Ohio

Child generally may not inherit after 8/27/51. However, if natural parent is spouse of adopting parent, inheritance rights are not terminated unless there is evidence of relinquishment or forfeiture of rights by the natural parent. Submit case to RCC under GN 01010.815 ff. if natural parent is spouse of adopting parent and there is reason to believe natural parents' rights may have terminated.

Oklahoma

May inherit.

Oregon

May inherit if natural parent died before 7/21/53. If natural parent dies on or after 7/21/53, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent. These rules apply regardless of date or place of adoption.

Pennsylvania

May not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent.

Puerto Rico

Child adopted after 9/12/53 may not inherit. Child adopted before 9/13/53 may inherit unless petition that adoption be governed by law in effect after 9/12/53 is granted.

Rhode Island

May inherit.

South Carolina

May not inherit, effective 1/1/76.

South Dakota

May inherit.

Tennessee

May inherit from natural father only if that natural parent is married to the adopting parent.

Texas

May inherit, unless court decree specifically terminates inheritance rights.

Utah

May inherit.

Vermont

May inherit.

Virgin Islands

Submit to RCC under GN 01010.815 ff.

Virginia

May inherit if natural parent died before 6/30/54. If natural parent dies after 6/29/54, child may not inherit unless adopted by a stepparent.

Washington

May inherit if natural parent died before 7/1/67. If natural parent died after 6/30/67, child may not inherit.

West Virginia

May inherit if natural parent died before 3/11/59. If natural parent dies after 3/10/59, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent.

Wisconsin

May inherit if natural parent died before 7/1/56. If natural parent dies after 6/30/56, child may not inherit unless natural parent is spouse of adopting parent.

Wyoming

May inherit.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200306170
GN 00306.170 - State Laws on the Right of Adopted Child to Inherit From Natural Parent - 02/25/2011
Batch run: 02/25/2011
Rev:02/25/2011