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Considerations for Your Virginia Estate Plan after Adoption


Adoption is one of the happiest events in many peoples’ lives. However, some people forget to update their estate plan if it was created prior to the adoption. While adopted children are generally treated like a biological child, your estate plan may not have a provision that addresses adoption, or a child birth after the date you created your documents or created a trust. In some cases, you may only need a relatively simple amendment to address the additional changes in your estate plan. However, it’s best to speak with a knowledgeable Leesburg family law and estate planning attorney who can help.

How to Modify an Estate Plan After a Virginia Adoption

Some examples of how you may want to modify your estate plan after adoption can include:

  • If you are adopting a child who is still a minor, you will want to ensure there is a guardian appointed in your will.
  • If you are considering how you want your adopted child to be raised, you will need to update your estate plan to reflect those wishes. For example, you may want to have a provision in your trust that will allow your adopted child to remain in the family home while going to school, etc.
  • If you have decided you do not want your adopted child to have assets when they turn 18, you can consider creating a trust that sets forth delayed distributions until he or she is older.
  • If you have both biological and adopted children, you should update your estate plan to distribute assets between your children in the manner you choose. There is no requirement you must divide everything evenly. Perhaps your adopted child is much younger, and you may want to include additional financial assistance through their school years for example.
  • If you adopt a child that has special needs, you could speak with your Virginia estate planning attorney about setting up a special needs trust which will give you the option to earmark additional funds to help cover medical expenses, equipment, special schooling, tutors, etc. When done correctly, this can eliminate the risk of being denied government benefits when applicable.

Estate Planning for Embryos

It may sound completely strange to consider estate planning for your embryos or eggs, but with the popularity of assisted reproductive technology, it’s something that should be considered. You may be storing genetic samples for future implantation, or donated eggs or sperm. You may need to address beneficiary designation for retirement accounts and investments depending on the definition of a child. What is your plan if your partner has permission to use your genetic material in the event you pass away?

This can be a complex area of family law estate planning, and you should not attempt to address issues like this without the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney.

Contact a Virginia Estate Planning Attorney

If you need assistance with Virginia family law matters or estate planning, contact the Leesburg estate planning attorneys at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC today at 703-997-4982 to schedule an initial consultation.

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Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC maintains an office in Loudoun County in the Town of Leesburg. We welcome inquiries from throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.

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