Do I have any legal rights to inherit something from my foster parent? 21 Answers as of February 01, 2012

I was raised by a woman who was a friend of the family. She asked for me because my birth mother was poor, and she (the woman) had "always wanted a little girl." This woman became just like my mother I called and continue to call her mom. My birth mother relinquished all claims to me, and never again participated in my life, or any decisions relating to me. She did not wish to do this, but was persuaded to do so by this woman, and my grandmother. This woman acted as mother of the bride at my wedding, has been a grandmother to my children, and we have maintained a relationship no different from that of a natural born child and mother. Now, she is dying, and will be intestate. She has only one natural child, and this child has informed me that I am not really his mother's child, and have no legal rights to inherit. Is this true?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Horn & Johnsen SC
Horn & Johnsen SC | Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy
Unfortunately, Wisconsin law does not recognize any legal inheritance rights for foster children. However, if she named you as a direct beneficiary on a life insurance policy or another asset with a beneficiary attached to it, then you would receive the share designated for you upon her death.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 2/1/2012
Ashman Law Office
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
If she wants you to inherit she will write a will, with a lawyer's help, and include you. You will then inherit. If she wants you not to inherit, she will fail to write a will, and legally that is a clear statement that you cannot inherit and she does not want you to inherit. Without a will you get zero.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 2/1/2012
Slovak Baron & Empey, LLP | Valerie A. Powers Smith, Esq.
The problem is proving that there would have been an adoption but for a legal impediment.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/31/2012
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
You may have a parent child relationship and qualify as an heir under the Probate code. You should consult a probate attorney to review all of the facts to determine if you qualify.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/30/2012
Norm R Perry. Attorney at Law | Norm R Perry
NoBeing a foster child gives you no rights. Since you are neither her blood relative nor her adopted child, you have no rights unless she has a valid will or trust naming you as an heir or a form of joint ownership with you.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/27/2012
    Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
    The woman's daughter is right. You have not right to take intestate in MI. You have no claim absent estate planning efforts. If the woman wants you to receive a portion of her estate, she must set up a joint account naming you as con-owner or beneficiary, a insurance policy naming you as a beneficiary or a will or a trust that gives you a portion of her estate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Geoff Germane, Attorney at Law | Geoff Germane
    Unfortunately, yes, that is true. A foster child does not have a right to inheritance from a foster parent in intestacy. A right to inherit belongs only to natural-born (where the parent-child relationship is not severed by adoption by another parent) or adopted children. Not even step children have a right to inheritance in intestacy.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    North Sound Law, PS
    North Sound Law, PS | Spencer Bergstedt
    Because you are not legally related to this woman, if she dies intestate (without a Will) you do not have a right to inherit from her estate. Only legally related children (by birth or adoption) are considered descendents under the intestacy statute. However, if she is still competent to make out a Will and if she wants to include you in it, then she may certainly do so.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Law Office of J. Brian Thomas
    Law Office of J. Brian Thomas | J. Brian Thomas
    You may very well have an inheritance to be concerned about here. Texas permits what lawyers and judges call "equitable adoption." We use that term to describe very much the same circumstance that you've outlined in your facts. You treated her as your mother, and she treated you as her child. With enough facts to support this informal relationship, a Court could quite easily reach a determination that you are as much an heir of this individual as any naturally-born or formally-adopted child. The better question is why you the woman would leave this issue to chance with an intestate death. If she's capable of executing a Will, none of this likely matters.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
    Yes. The only wait to inherit is if she legally adopts you OR if she includes you as a beneficiary in her Will or Trust.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    You have no rights to inherit unless you were adopted. You have benefited from her kindness but not in her inheritance.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C.
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    No, you have no legal rights. She could however include you in a Will if she is competent and willing to do so. You are not related, you were not adopted, you are out if she dies intestate.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If she never legally adopted you, then no, you have no rights as an heir at law. If she still has capacity, she should make a will. Or, she could name you beneficiary on some of her accounts.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC | Darin Christensen
    Unless you are adopted or named in her will, you have no right to inherit from her.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Fears & Nachawati | Andrea Perez
    My answer would really depend on if a formal adoption occurred. There are certain right that you keep to inherit from your mother if she did not have a will, but this would depend on if you were formally adopted. It may be beneficial to set up a consultation with an attorney to more properly answer this question as these matters can get very complicated legally.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Gregory T. Taylor, ESQ
    Gregory T. Taylor, ESQ | Gregory Taylor
    Yes. If she dies intestate, then under Kentucky intestacy laws, you cannot inherit because you are not the child of the decedent. Unless she makes a Will and names you therein, all assets will go to her children pursuant to KRS 391.010, et al.
    Answer Applies to: Kentucky
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    Unless your foster mother adopted you, you won't have any right to inherit from her.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC
    Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC | Dean D. Stein
    Persons entitled to inherit, include those named in a Last Will and Testament or Will, whether blood related or not, those persons who were legally adopted by the decedent, and those persons born to the decedent. If you do not fitinto one of those catagories as a "child" of the decedent or otherwise named in a Will, you will not have any legal right to inherit.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    That is likely true. Most states do not recognize a child unless it is a natural child or were formally adopted by court order. The way for her to provide for you is to execute a will giving you whatever she desires.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    No, you do not have any legal rights under the laws of the State of Nevada. Had your foster mother made a Will or a Trust, she could have named you as a beneficiary. Absent a Will or a Trust naming you as a beneficiary, you have no legal standing to inherit.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/27/2012
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney