FAQs About Wills

Can A Parent Disinherit An Adopted Child?

by Rania Combs

A woman’s adoptive father was dying. She was worried, but not about what you’d expect.

You see, her father inherited a piece of family land from her grandmother that her grandmother always said would one day pass to her. Unfortunately, her relationship with her father had soured, and they had not spoken for years.

She knew her father had a Will and had disinherited her, but she was hopeful. A friend told her that it was impermissible for parents to disinherit an adopted child in Texas. “Is my friend right?” she asked.

Her friend was wrong.

Section 201.054 of the Texas Estates Code specifies that for purposes of inheritance under the laws of descent and distribution, an adopted child is regarded as a child of the adoptive parents and can inherit from his or her adoptive parents and their relatives just any biological child.

However, the statute also provides:

“This section does not prevent an adoptive parent from disposing of the parent’s property by will according to law.”

Section 201.054(c)

So if an adoptive parent dies without a Will, the parent’s adopted child will inherit under the Texas intestacy laws just like a biological child. However, there is no law that restricts a parent from disposing of his property by Will in any way he chooses.

Just as a parent can disinherit a biological child, a parent can also disinherit adopted child.

This article was originally published on August 7, 2013, and updated on April 28, 2021.

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

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