Should You Adopt An Adult In Your Life? Or Be Adopted?

Should You Adopt An Adult In Your Life? Or Be Adopted?

2 August 2023
 Categories: , Blog

When most Americans think about adoption, they envision the adoption of an infant or small child. But did you know that you can adopt a legal adult? The idea may sound unusual to some, but there are several excellent reasons to consider doing just that with someone in your life who has already passed the age of majority. Here are a few of the most common. 

1. To Formalize Family Bonds

Perhaps the most popular reason to enter into an adoption of an adult is to officially recognize the parent/child relationship that already exists. A stepparent and stepchild may choose to formalize their relationship, foster parents can still make an adult foster child their own, or relatives might want to create legal bonds with those they raised. The good news is that this is often a streamlined process you can do quickly. 

2. To Ensure Inheritance Rights

Each state handles inheritance issues differently, but they all tend to prioritize family relationships over non-familial relationships. Adopted children are treated the same as biological children in the legal system — in many cases, through the replacement of birth records — so even if the parent dies intestate, the child's inheritance is more secure. And if the person has a will but it's contested, their rights are more secure. 

3. To Care for an Adult

Perhaps someone you love has special needs which will continue throughout their life. There are several legal and prudent ways to ensure that person is properly cared for as an adult. One of these routes is through adoption. While some adults with special needs receive more benefits from remaining under the state's legal care, parents who can provide for their loved one may opt for adoption into their family. 

4. To Reestablish Parental Bonds

When parental rights have been terminated or an adoption has been legally completed, the biological parents generally have no legal status with the adoptee. However, some families choose to reconnect years later. Other adults locate and form a relationship with their birth father who was never recognized as a parent. In these cases, those reestablished relationships can be acknowledged through adoption.  

Where to Start

Whatever your reason for considering adoption of an adult — or seeking adoption by someone who has been like a parent to you — the first step should be consultation with a family law attorney in your state. Each state approaches adult adoption differently, so do your research first. Make an appointment today to learn more.