Adult Adoptions 101

Adult Adoptions 101

In the state of New York, a person may choose to adopt someone over the age of 18 in order to grant them the same legal treatment a biological child would receive. Adult adoption may take place for a variety of reasons, like securing an inheritance, locking in legal rights, or acknowledging an existing parent-child relationship. The process can be exceedingly difficult, especially if the nature of the adoptive relationship comes under scrutiny, or filing a petition becomes problematic. If you are considering an adult adoption, find out everything you need to know about the process, the reasons, and the legal requirements.

Why Do People Choose Adult Adoption?

The most probable reason for an adult adoption is simple – love. If a parent-child bond is already established between two individuals, but that bond was never cemented through legal means, the two may wish to do so as adults. Step-parents may also wish to adopt their adult children after having raised them and loved them as well as their own.

Adult adoptions also take place for legal reasons. For the purpose of securing inheritance, someone may wish to legally adopt in order to bestow certain privileges to the legal child. Using adult adoption as an estate planning tool can be especially helpful when a person does not have an existing will. An adopted child will have legal rights to an inheritance that a non-relative would not, and their claim legal claim to funds after the parent’s passing will be much harder to dispute. Some business people may choose to adopt an employee in order to legally leave them certain funds or business assets after death.

Besides inheritance, the legal privileges that pass to an adopted child can also provide necessary health care benefits. For example, if a relative or dear friend is disabled or has special needs, adoption can secure perpetual care under family insurance.

What Are the New York Adult Adoption Laws?

New York does not hold strict laws against who can adopt and has very little restriction against who can be adopted. Some states impose age restrictions, requiring the adoptee to be a minimum of 10 years younger than the adopter, or may prohibit certain adoptive relationships, whereas New York does not. The only requirement is that the adoptee agrees to the adoption.

How Do You Obtain an Adult Adoption?

The first step in the adult adoption process is to file a petition for adoption. It must then be approved by the New York state court. The adoptee must give their consent, and sometimes spousal consent may also be required. If the judge approves the adoption petition, he or she will sign a formal court order of adoption. The court will then issue a new birth certificate for the adopted person, and all previous parental ties, biological or otherwise, will be severed.

Before choosing adult adoption for legal or estate planning purposes, keep in mind how permanent adoption is. Debating a will is a great deal simpler than overturning an adoption. If the “parent” and “child” have a falling out before the parent’s passing, the child would still receive everything any other child would. Discuss your intended adult adoption with other family members and with your lawyer so that they understand your true intentions and wishes.

Even though it may seem like a straightforward process, petitions for adult adoption can be quite complex and are sometimes difficult to prepare. If you need help with your adult adoption, our family lawyers are ready to help.

Contact Peter L. Cedeño & Associates, P.C. for a free case consultation.

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