Donate Child Support Calculator
Skip navigation

Wills and the rights of children given up for adoption

Add Topic
This question may have been discussed before. In the 1970s, young women from a Catholic background who were unfortunate enough to fall pregnant while unmarried were in many cases forced to give their new borns up for adoption. The babies went to new homes, obtained new names etc and may not have any knowledge of the identity of the birth mother. There would be no contact between birth mother & child - ever.

Do the babies given up for adoption have any legal right to an inheritance from the birth mother's estate?
Legally - I'd be assuming if genetic connection could be established (not sure how as unless records could be released and verify this then I'm thinking exhuming the body for DNA extraction may be the only way) that there might be a claim to a percentage of the inheritance but I would be expecting strong opposition from other family members.

Morally - Unless I am misreading your post entirely IMO I would think that anyone who would try to enterprise from a deceased person especially one that they have never even known or tried to know (if a person knows they are their birth parent in death, surely they must have known they were their birth parent in life) would be unconscionable. 

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable
The short answer is yes, but the qualification is if the child was born after 1978, however should the child be born before 1978 there is still an available argument for children who were termed 'illegitimates' to have the required locus standi, essentially this term means the right of the child to challenge the grant of probate. In this regard it may be a good idea to have a read of Hogarth v Johnson [1987] 2 Qd R 383. This case will give you a bit of guidance.

While I don't like using the term 'illegitimates' this is the legal term which is used for children in this period, The guiding principle for children in this position is found in Estate of Bridges (1974) 8 SASR 268, essentially the child will need to gain a declaration of paternity. If this declaration can be obtained through the court then the court is enjoined to assist a child deemed 'illegitimate', see Re Audis and Bell (unreported, Queensland Supreme Court, 1989).

Once this is established then family provisions come into play. 

Hope this gives you some info to start researching, if it is however an urgent matter as there is statute of limitations issues to consider, you may want to make application to join SRL-R so that your matter can be discussed in a more confidential forum.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas
1 guest and 0 members have just viewed this.

Recent Tweets