Can an adoptive child make a claim under the Inheritance Act?

9 April, 2018

In England and Wales the law allows certain relatives, dependants and those treated as children by the deceased to apply to the court if they are left out, or insufficiently provided for, in the Will (or, if no Will exists, then on intestacy). This law is from the ‘Inheritance (Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the Inheritance Act).

Children, those treated as children and those being maintained by the deceased can all bring a claim under the Inheritance Act.

From the date of adoption a child’s right to claim part of their birth parent’s estate is relinquished and the right to claim from their adoptive parents is granted. Children are treated as birth children from the date they are adopted and can therefore bring an Inheritance Act claim regarding an adoptive parent’s estate as of right as a child.

After adoption, an adopted child can only bring a claim against a birth parent’s estate if another basis of claim can be demonstrated. Commonly this will be that birth parent was continuing to provide for them, in which case they may claim as a dependent of the estate, or they were treated by the adoptive parent as their child.

If a child has not been legally adopted but is treated as the deceased’s child then the child may have a claim under the category of one ‘treated as the deceased’s child’.  

To discuss whether you may be able to claim under the Inheritance Act, please contact Phil Youdan at