Vanderbilt Law Review


Jan E. Rein

First Page



This Article explores the questions that courts and legislatures must address in order to integrate the social phenomenon of adoption into our succession laws, monitors the progress that has and has not been made in dealing with these questions, and proposes a comprehensive approach to the treatment of adoptees in matters of succession. Specifically, part I introduces the traditional approach to relationship by adoption, while part HI compares the past and present goals of adoption. Part IV discusses the legal status of adoptees in the context of intestate succession. This discussion explores past and present trends and examines the special policy considerations that apply to in-family adoptions. Part V discusses the treatment of adopted-in and adopted-out children under class gifts and also addresses the retroactivity issue which has sharply divided our courts. Part VI deals with adult adoptions and the special problems they pose in succession cases, both testate and intestate. Part VII explores the uncharted terrain of equitable (informal) adoption. It explains the theoretical bases for equitable adoption, discusses the consequences of equitable adoption,and suggests more realistic criteria for judging equitable adoption claims. Part VII concludes by discussing the special policy considerations that should guide the courts in deciding how far to extend the equitable adoption doctrine.

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