What is Adoption By Estoppel?
Defining Adoption by Estoppel
This theory does not apply to an adult adoption; in other words, adults cannot move in with the other adult (decedent) and attempt to develop the same sort of relationship. The child must be a minor while residing with the adult (decedent). In such instances, post-death, the family is prevented, or estopped, from denying that such a relationship existed and, for purposes of heirship, the child is treated as a full heir and inures to all the benefits, and burdens, of being an heir of the estate, which includes his or her full heirship share of inheritance from the decedent.
Hypothetically, if there were three biological children of the decedent and one adopted by estoppel, then the children’s share of the estate is split four ways instead of three.
Adoption by Estoppel is Not a Legal Adoption
The important thing about it not being a legal adoption is the child can have “two daddies” so to speak. The rights of the biological father do not have to be terminated, as would be required in a legal adoption, for the adoption by estoppel to occur. The child gets to inherit from his or her biological mother, his or her biological father and his or her “adopted (by estoppel)” parent.
It can be a complicated area of probate law in Texas that some lawyers do not even understand. You should hire an attorney to represent you in pursuing such a claim and to navigate you through the process of the law and the facts needed to prove-up the inheritance interest.
Contact or call us if you questions or want to know your rights.