my Mother died last December, in her will she listed 4 children...but at time of death, one of these children had been given to me, and legally adopted 4 years prior to her death... so my question is, does this make her that portion of her will void? The minor child that I adopted 4 years ago was left a life insurance policy and I am trying to gain control of that. I would like to do that without approving any expenses through the court. I have been supporting this child already for 5 years...the child is currently 9 years old
3 Answers from Attorneys
You need to see a lawyer. Depending on how the will is worded, the one child may get no inheritance or may get an inheritance, and no one can answer that without reading the will.
Insurance passes outside a will so the terms of the policy dictate the outcome of that.
Let me stress that this is not a pro se project.
The fact that a child of the testator was adopted by somewone else should not invalidate that portion of the will; but it is not possible to determine if that individual inherits under the will without knowing exactly what the will says.
With respect to the life insurance policy, if the child is made beneficiary by name, the proceeds belong to the child. You cannot "gain control" of the proceeds without being named conservator of the child's property, and acting under the supervision of the probate court. The same is true of any inheritance under the will.
You should consult a lawyer on both of these issues.
Adoption of a child would not make the woman's will void. But that does not mean that the child inherits anything. It depends on the language in the will and when it was written . If the will was written prior to the adoption, then the adoption would cut off any rights of inheritance from the biological parent and the child would no longer have a right to inherit from that parent. In that case, the woman's property would pass to her other 3 children. However, it depends and you need to see a probate attorney and pay him or her to review the will.
Life insurance is a non-probate asset paid to the designated beneficiary. If the beneficiary is under 18 then the funds are paid to the child's parent/guardian, depending on the sum. If its a substantial sum (over $1500), then you will have to become a conservator. The conservator, like the name suggests, is to conserve assets for the minor child until the child turns 18. That means that you cannot get control of the money and use it for whatever you want or for things that would be considered part of the child's routine support (like socks and underwear). Most conservators have to be bonded and have to file annual accountings with the court. Again, you need to see an attorney about this to best maximize your chances of success.
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