The main reason for adult adoption is usually related to qualifying to receive an inheritance: If a person is not related to you biologically or legally and your will cannot be found, then the person has no right to inherit your money. However, getting around this issue can easily be resolved by writing a Will and leaving a bequest to that specific person in the Will. Sometimes, however, it is not that simple, and the eager beneficiary must take this unusual step.

Suppose a grandmother creates a Will that leaves all of her assets to her grandchildren. One of her daughters (Irene) gets married to a man who has a child (Ron) from a previous marriage. Irene and Ron have a close and meaningful parent child relationship. However, unless Ron gets legally adopted by Irene, he will not inherit a penny from Irene’s mother’s trust. Therefore, regardless of Ron’s age, Irene can adopt him. Once she does so, Ron will stand to inherit from Irene mother’s trust, because he will become one of the grandchildren.

There are a couple of restrictions in New York regarding adult adoptions. If the adopting parent is married,  then the spouse of an adopted parent must consent to the adoption. There is also a residency requirement: the adopting parent must live in New York for at least 3 months prior to the adoption. Finally, if the adoptee’s age is over 14, then the adoptee’s consent is required (no secret adoptions are permitted). Other than that, unlike in many other states in the country, there are no other restrictions to adult adoptions in New York. 

In the past, before same-sex marriage was permitted, same-sex partners often adopted each other to ensure that the partner would be protected in the event of death. Today, with a little bit of planning, adult adoption is no longer necessary in the majority of these situations. Between a legally valid marriage, a legally valid Power of Attorney, and a legally valid Will, your loved ones should be protected.