Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Estate Planning for an Adoptive Family

Estate planning is one of the most important things that parents need to do to ensure that their children are cared for financially and emotionally after they are gone. However, for parents of adopted children, the process must be number one on their list. Estate planning for parents with biological children will be much simpler and very different from estate planning for parents who have adopted children.

The adoption process itself is a very long one, and can take from a few months if you adopt a child from inside the country, to a few years in case of an overseas adoption. Besides, the adoption process must be complete for your adopted children to be eligible for your assets after your death. If the adoption process is not finalized, then the children may be in a situation where they're not entitled to any of your assets.

That’s the reason why you must begin the process of rewriting your will as soon as you begin the process of adoption. If the adoption has been finalized, you can use the same language for your adopted child as you do for your biological children, if you have any. Typically, a California estate planning attorney will recommend setting up a trust to hold assets for an adopted child until he reaches the age of majority.

There are equally complex issues to consider when you decide on a guardian for your children. It's very important to make sure that your child's guardian has all knowledge of the adoption, and is in possession of all the papers. Your guardian must also be able to care for your child taking into consideration your wishes and the nature of the adoption.

For instance, if your adoption was an open adoption, and you have a relationship with the biological mother of your adopted child, then you may want the guardian to continue that same kind of relationship with the biological mother even after your death. If you're guardian has qualms about continuing such a relationship, you'll need to look for another guardian. Any details about the guardian's relationship with the biological parents should be spelled out clearly in formal documents.

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