When it comes to Wills, it gets more complicated when children are put up for adoption, or adopted by a new parent. A further complication is the situation where there is no Will, and we need to consider what the law says.

When a child is given for adoption, any legal rights the child would have had from their birth parent are cancelled. Having said that, there is nothing to stop the birth parent writing a Will, in the normal way, and leaving a gift to their child.

This is particularly likely where a birth parent gets in touch with a child later in life, (or vice versa) and by then, they may be grown up.

Consideration should be made when writing the Will, it might be best to name any children individually, rather than just stating “my children” or “my grandchildren”, which can get confusing if you have birth children and adopted children together. This also applies with “Step children”.

Once the adoptive parents have adopted a child, the child has the same legal rights as their own children. So for example, if the adoptive parents don’t make a Will, any adopted children will benefit alongside children of the full blood.

The 1975 Inheritance and Family Provision Act provides for “dependents” that have not benefited in an estate, so a child may be able claim under this act. This again will also apply to adopted children as it could be said the legal parent has a duty to provide for them. It may not apply to birth children (as we saw earlier), who are later adopted, as any legal right to inherit will be lost once they are adopted by their new parent.

As always, it is important the parents seek professional advice, and make Wills, so their wishes can be clearly understood and followed by their executors.