Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Estate Planning & the Adoptive Family

This article in Forbes focuses on some issues adoptive families need to think about when estate planning;  yes, once a child is legally adopted, they are treated the same as biological children for inheritance purposes.  But what about the period before the adoption is final?  What about picking guardians who share your values about adoption, culture-keeping, openness?  Some good points here:
An adopted child only has rights to your estate once the adoption has been finalized. The length of time it takes to finalize an adoption depends on where the adoption was initiated as well as a host of other factors. This process can take anywhere from six months to several years to complete. In the event that you pass away before this process is complete, it is likely the child would not be entitled to any of your assets.

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Caring for an adopted child may require you to put some extra thought into a number of provisions. If, for example, you adopted a child from another country and wish to expose the child to his home culture, your Will and Trust should reflect these desires.

When designating a guardian, it is important that he understand your family’s unique circumstances. You will want to choose a person who knows the details of your family’s adoption and is willing to maintain the lifestyle that you have chosen for your adopted child. It may be a good idea to provide the designated guardian with documentation that contains the details of your child’s adoption. Particularly in the case of an open adoption, it is important to establish a good relationship with the individuals outside your immediate family, such as the child’s birth parents, who will have a direct interest in your child’s life. In choosing a guardian, you will want to choose a person who is willing to maintain those ties.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

I am struggling with this currently. Adding in the additional home country visits, connection with family there, and how we view her schooling (we homeschool) and culture keeping is not something I see our guardians of choice (family) doing. Maybe a mentorship with another AP would assist them if something were to happen to us.