Adoption by Estoppel in Texas

Contesting a will in Texas

Written by Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.

Adoption by Estoppel in Texas

Adoption by Estoppel

Texas recognizes adoption by estoppel which is a form of informal adoptions.  An informal adoption is similar to a common-law marriage in that no formal legal proceedings are involved. An inheritance lawyer is going to walk you through what it is.

Defining Adoption by Estoppel

These adoptions may be called adoption by estoppelequitable adoption, or adoption status by the courts discussing them.  The courts treat these as contract cases in that once the facts are established, the heirs of the adopting parent are estopped from denying the adopted child his inheritance rights.

The courts look for an enforceable agreement between the adopting parent and the adopted child, his parents or some other person in loco parentis with the child.  The adopting parent agrees to adopt the adopted child then confers affection and benefits upon them and the person who agreed with the adopting parent relies upon the adopted status. These informal adoptions are important where the adopting parent dies without a will.  If the adopting parent leaves a will, he can leave his property to anyone he chooses.  He can leave property to the adopted child or not.  However, if he dies intestate (without a will) then the child adopted by estoppel will inherit a share of this adoptive parent’s estate the same as any other child.  906 – 576.

Adoption by Estoppel – proof in court

The doctrine is applied regularly when, “because of the promises, acts and conduct of an intestate deceased, those claiming under and through him are estopped to assert that a child was not legally adopted or did not occupy the status of an adopted child.” The doctrine of equitable adoption (adoption by estoppel) is not “the same as legal adoption” and does not contain “all of the legal consequences of a statutory adoption.” Rather, it merely protects an adopted “child’s right to inherit by adoption” as if the adoption had been legally completed. The Texas Estates Code recognizes the doctrine, defining “child” as including a person adopted by “acts of estoppel.” 06-20-00007-CV.

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Robert Ray

Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We handle cases all across Texas. Our principal office is in Lantana, Texas (DFW area).

Robert Ray is a Texas attorney who handles inheritance disputes

Why Us?

Inheritance disputes involve someone who has taken advantage of the elderly. These cases are complicated and most often, but not always, involve outsiders. We represent you knowing that these inheritance disputes are private and painful family matters. We know this is a stressful time for you. We strive to obtain the quickest and best results possible so that you can get this troubling episode behind you.


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