Adult adoption is the adoption of an individual older than the age of maturity. This age is specific to state law. On the surface, it may seem to be an uncommon practice. But in a number of situations, this type of adoption can enable unrelated individuals the same rights as biological families.
Reasons for Adult Adoption
Most commonly, individuals decide to adopt adults because of inheritance. When drafting wills and trusts, adoption makes the process of receiving the gift less complicated. Stepparents who are very active in the lives of their adult stepchildren will often want to establish that parent-child relationship. Adoption is a way of solidifying the relationship and proving lifetime commitment. Adults who can no longer take care of themselves can also become adopted by family members. This eases the process of getting insurance coverage and handling personal affairs.
Results of Adult Adoption
The results of adult adoption are similar to that of child adoption. In the case of biological parents who have been reunited with their adult child, adult adoption legally reestablishes that parent-child relationship. In the unrelated individuals' case, a new parent-child relationship is formed ending any previous biological parent relationships.
As in child adoption, the records are sealed even though both parties are adults over the legal age. A new birth certificate is issued with the adoptive parent replacing the birth parent. In this process, you are also able to change the last name of the adult who is to be adopted.
More than money, it is imperative to understand that the level of commitment in adult adoptions is awesome. There are emotion costs that are just as pertinent as the monetary. If this decision is not discussed with your biological family, it can be cause for alienation, animosity and lengthy court battles. If the adult has special needs, understand that he becomes your legal responsibility. You will lose free time and assume the financial burden of his care. Oftentimes, same-sex couples use adult adoption as an avenue to marry in states that forbid it. In this case, the older partner becomes the parent. Even though this is only to provide inheritance benefits similar to heterosexual married couples, it can cause tension and add another element to the relationship.
The monetary cost of adult adoption varies greatly depending on reason, third-party involvement and state requirements. Generally speaking, stepparent and kinship adoptions can be less than $100. Inheritance adult adoptions are more costly and complex. The cost for these is more significant and can climb well into the thousands. Involving lawyers and private organizations will increase your price tag, but in certain situations they are necessary. If the choice is yours, opting for a public agency will make adoption more affordable. Their use is based on what is required by state law.
Things to Consider
If you believe that adult adoption is for you, please make sure to take this important information into consideration before beginning the process. Availability and conditions allowing adult adoption are state specific. You will need to check with your state laws to verify that this option is available legally for your circumstance.
Adoption is permanent. This is the most important fact to consider. It is a far greater commitment than marriage because there is no divorce and rarely is adoption annulled for any reason. When considering adult adoption for inheritance purposes, you need to take time and think about what if the relationship changes and how your biological family may react to non-biological heirs.