An adopted child is treated in law as the biological child of his or her adoptive parents and not the child of any other person.

In terms of inheritance, this means that any reference to 'children' in adoptive parents' will or wills includes adopted children. If the parents do not leave a will or wills, the adopted child will have the same legal right to benefit from their estates as any biological child would have.

However, it is not possible for an adopted child to make a successful claim to his or her biological parents' estates on their deaths, even if he or she knows one or both of them and has a relationship of any kind with them. An adopted child can benefit from his or her biological parents' estates only if the biological parents specifically named him or her as a beneficiary of their will or wills – but they are not obliged to make any such provision.

If the adoptive parents also have biological children, for inheritance purposes the adopted child will be treated as the biological sibling of these children.

For further information on this topic please contact Victoria Grogan at Ogier by telephone (+44 1534 514 000) or email ( The Ogier website can be accessed at

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