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Who Inherits If Children Are Adopted ?

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CW1 | 11:52 Thu 25th Apr 2024 | Law
28 Answers

A divorced uncle dies intestate, his ex wife remarried & their children took the new husband's name & may have also been legally adopted by the new husband.

The only other living relations are nieces, one of which has children.

Who would inherit if the uncle's children were adopted ? Both nieces presumably but what about their children ?



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Adopted children do not inherit after their biological parent dies.  In this instance the nieces would be the beneficiaries 

The fact that the mother has remarried has no bearing on the rules of intestacy and if her new husband has not adopted the children they will inherit, even if they have changed their surname.


Legally adopted children have the same rights as their adopted parent’s natural children, but lose all rights to their birth parents’ Estates.

Laws of Intestacy UK | Will Writing Surrey Cornerstone Wills

legally adopted children are treated the same as blood children in any sort of intestacy process.


Question Author

I know the children lose the right to inherit from their father if they were adopted by the step father, & the nieces would stand to inherit, but would *their* children (who never met the uncle, but I know that's irrelevant) also inherit ?

Question Author

In fact, one of the niece's children has a child of their own too, would they be entitled too ?

Are the nieces blood related to the deceased?  Aunts and uncles might be related by marriage only


Question Author

Blood related, barry1010, their mother's brother.

The aunts would inherit. Only if both aunts were deceased would their children inherit, as I understand it

My daughter is adopted. My will states that she inherits 

Question Author

Thanks, barry1010.

Fair enough if there's a will, calmck, but he died nearly 3yrs ago & one hasn't been found yet apparently.

Question Author

I don't think that seems to apply in this case, ubasses.

He died in 2021, I read that your link applies if the death was after 23 July 2023. I don't think it's clear about adoption either. I read it as if the deceased had children they'd adopted they would inherit, rather than if his children were adopted by someone else. Confusing, eh ! 😕 But it does seem to bear out barry1010's understanding the great nieces/nephews wouldn't inherit.

One of the "heir hunters" said the uncle's children wouldn't inherit *if* they'd been adopted by the step father, another just said "We need to find the son" !

aunty poll is absolutely right.

they lose the old rights and gain new ones from the adopted parents. hilariously covered by celtic genius ( who the hell are you ? series 1) when the young fella tells a family they have rights from their biological parents ( 'it doesnt matter') - when it does ( matter) and dont ( have any old rights)

The real answer is to make a will - rather obvious in this case

ubasses - I know you talk sense -  mwah mwah

dont get depressed with "I think that is a load of crap" - I get it everyday, when I skip away and play with the  dogs and their teddy bears - and stick my tongue out

I dont have any direct heirs and have made it clear to my grasping relatives ( by will) who gets what

but then my sister DID put my brother on the street - God I hope no one can  identify who I really am ! - my family ! oh Lor'!

they need advice to prevent a prolonged famly quarrel on the facts

Divorced uncle -- on divorce, there is a clean break. So ex-wife etc is irrelevant

divorced uncle dies intestate ( we are told he is already dead so 'make a will' isnt really a goer)

and follows ubasses rules - ( ? sibs first and the dead sib passes on his rights to  HIS children - or whatever)


It would be relatively unusual for an adoption to take place whilst a birth parent was alive.  If the children HAVE been adopted by their step-father, then they lose inheritance rights from their birth parent.  It is entirely possible that there was not a formal adoption and instead just a name change.  It sounds to me as if the situation with the children of the deceased needs clarifying first before any other relatives get involved.

The only difference in the flowchart is the figure of £322,000 which was previously £270,000.

Question Author

It was one of the "heir hunters" (probate office) who said if the kids *were* legally adopted by the step father they forfeit any rights to inherit. They would've been too young at the time the mother remarried to have had a choice about it. As I remember she was pretty vindictive so wouldn't be surprised if she cut all ties with their father. They obviously didn't keep in touch in any way & don't know he's died !

I'm the only person the probate office(s) have been able to get in contact with so far, I'm not "getting involved", I've *been* involved by that contact. One has left a message with who they think is the son, but are not expecting to hear back as he's not going to know who actually called them.

I've put feelers out on Facebook groups relevant to the last town I know they lived in, hopefully someone might remember them, but has been decades since I know with certainty they were there. They could be *any* where now. But they at least need to know their father (who they quite likely don't even remember) has died, aside from anything else.

Their father would have had to give permission for the adoption. 

I would expect the probate office to check the adoption register. 

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