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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


A child is given over by his natural parent to adoptive parents. The adoptive father raises the child, and then passes away without a last will. The child seeks to receive his intestate share of his adoptive father's property, but finds out that no formal adoption occurred. The child asserts that even though he was never actually adopted, he was "virtually adopted" and thus should receive his intestate share. Florida statutes make no mention of the concept – does the child have any rights?

A recent Florida case confirms that virtual adoption does indeed exist in Florida. Reviewing the case law on the unusual subject, the appeals court laid out the five necessary elements that need to be present to make a case for "virtual adoption" in regard to inheriting property from a deceased adoptive parent:

  1. an agreement between the natural and adoptive parents (regarding the transfer of custody and providing for the adoption);

  2. performance by the natural parents of the child in giving up custody;

  3. performance by the child by living in the home of the adoptive parents;

  4. partial performance by the foster parents in taking the child into the home and treating the child as their child; and

  5. intestacy (dying without a last will) of the foster parents.

If virtual adoption is found, the child's rights to property are based on contract principles.

In the instant case, one of the elements was missing, so virtual adoption was held not applicable.

In re Estate of Ladislav Louis Musil, deceased. GERALDINE DOUGLASS, Appellant, v. ROSA FRAZIER, as Curator of the Estate of Allen Frazier, deceased, Appellee. 2nd District. Case No. 2D06-2114. Opinion filed August 15, 2007.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

jtmy "father passed away in july 2007,Iwas never legallyadopted but while my biological mother and my 'dad' were married they talked about him doing so when they were financially able.My parents divorced a few years laterand he never did,but I still considered him my dad and he still considered me his daughter Ikept in contact [calls cards letters ]and when I turned18 Iwent to live with him for about a year then moved away to another part of the state.I have an illness which prevents me from driving or traveling alone .We still called wrote etc. as any father and daughter would .When he passed away he left me a small estate but because I was never legally adopted some of his family came forward and said I was not a blood relative so Iam not entitled to his estate and are taking me to court saying his uncle is next of kin.But while he was alive many people were aware of the fact that he had a "daughter" many of them I have known for at least 40 years .He has always called me his daughter .We will go to trial very soon to "determine abeneficiry" Ihave several of these people coming to verify this fact,when we go to trial.How likely it is that I will be able to win this seems pretty likely .I feel like Iwas and am his daughter no matter what the out come .Iwill say this if you have children that are not your biological offspring and you never ligally adopt them ,make it known to them and everyone else that you wanted to but could'nt for whatever reason'but enen better do it no matter if they are children or grown into adulthood believing you are thier parents. things get very nasty especially when it comes to money.