Things To Know About Adult Adoption

Adult adoption comes in handy in many situations, from formalizing an informal family bond to giving an adult new inheritance rights. Here are some things that you should know about an adult adoption before seeking legal counsel.

Each State Sets Their Own Guidelines

First of all, the path to adult adoption looks different in every state. In some states, all you have to do is get both legal adults to sign the legal paperwork agreeing to an adoption. In other states, there is a more intensive vetting process where adoptions must be approved for a specific reason, such as allowing an incapacitated adult to be cared for by another adult.

Restrictions May Apply

Many restrictions can apply to adult adoption. For example, the two adults may not be romantically involved if an adoption is to occur. Some states have rules about cohabitation, such as the new depended must live in the same household as the adopting adult or be a close relative (for instance, aunt and niece). Another common restriction is that a person may not adopt an adult who is older than they are.

New Documents Will Be Issued

A new birth certificate will be issued, showing the new adoptive parent. It will be registered in the state where the adoption is finalized. Some people choose to legally take their adoptive parent's surname at this time, which would mean that they need to be issued a new driver's license and passport as well.

Adoption Gives Both People Additional Rights

Finally, note that the adoption will give both people new rights and responsibilities. On the side of the parent, they will be able to more easily claim the other person as a dependent for tax and other purposes. They will also be able to make medical decisions for another adult who has special needs. This could include their right to allocate that person's funds to a medical care center, for example.

On the side of the child, there are rights as well. Being adopted puts the person in line for inheritance purposes. It may provide the benefits of having a parent with a residence in a certain state, such as an easier path to residency or in-state university tuition for that person. It's important that both sides understand what these potential rights are, and your family law firm should explain them thoroughly before you sign the paperwork for adult adoption.