Yes, adult adoption is a real thing, and stranger yet it may be a good decision for you. Wisconsin law permits adult residents of the state to adopt other adults with the consent of the adoptee and the spouse of the adopter. The judicial order of adult adoption has the same legal consequences as an order of adoption of a minor. So then . . . why would you adopt another adult?
Two prominent reasons to adopt include (1) formalizing relationships, and (2) establishing inheritance rights.
Some people choose adult adoption to formalize what essentially is a parent-child relationship. Common examples include adult step-children or adult foster children wanting to enshrine their relationship with their adoptive parent in the law to reflect their bonds. Adopted children may later in adulthood want to reestablish their bond with their birthparents. Adoption legitimizes and reinforces the family’s sense of belonging amongst each other and the family’s status in the community. The adoptive act is not only symbolic, but it conveys all the rights, duties and other legal consequences of the natural relation of child and parent; often reflecting the rights and duties already felt by the parties.
People also choose adult adoptions for its impact on inheritance rights. Subject to certain exceptions, under the law of intestate succession, and governing instruments, e.g., wills, the adopted person will be treated as a birth child of the adoptive parent and the adoptive parent will be treated as the birth parent. The effect of this treatment may create inheritance rights extending beyond the adopter and adoptee. Moreover, adoption can act as a safe guard for the adopter’s or adoptee’s testamentary intent and competency.
Needless to say, adoption is a life altering act, altering legal relations between people, and should not be made without careful consideration. Additionally, there may be other reasons to explore adult adoption. If you believe adult adoption may be right for you, we at Russell Law Offices are here to help you navigate the process.