PR 01805.008 Connecticut
A. PR 01-194 Joseph O~ — Effect of Termination of Parental Rights SSN ~
DATE: August 23, 2001
Under Connecticut law, a court order terminating a parent's parental rights does not affect a child's right to inherit from the parent as the parent's natural child.
This memo is in response to your request for assistance in determining if a child is entitled to survivor's benefits on the account of a parent whose parental rights were terminated. We believe that the child here has inheritance rights from his natural father under Connecticut law and is entitled to survivor's benefits.
The materials you submitted indicate that the wage earner, Joseph O~, is the natural father of Nicholas, who was born July 20, 1989, and his name appears on Nicholas' birth certificate. On October 22, 1991, the Connecticut Probate Court issued an order terminating the parental rights of Joseph O~ with respect to Nicholas. Mr. O~ subsequently died in Connecticut on March 19, 2001. Julie M~, the mother of Nicholas, filed an application for survivor's benefits on his behalf on July 9, 2001. The mother stated in that application that Nicholas has never been adopted by anyone else.
The court order terminating the wage earner's parental rights does not affect the child's right to inherit from the wage earner as his natural child. Connecticut statutes define "termination of parental rights" to mean "the complete severance by court order of the legal relationship, with all its rights and responsibilities, between the child and the child's parent or parents so that the child is free for adoption except it shall not affect the right of inheritance of the child or the religious affiliation of the child." C.G.S.A. § 45a-707(8). Thus, Nicholas would still have inheritance rights from the wage earner and is eligible for surviving child's benefits.