Legal rights of birth siblings

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Legal rights of birth siblings

Postby ILMFP » Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:01 am

Hi ,

I would like to ask if anyone knows about birth siblings rights.
I was adopted in the late 60's. My birth parents stayed together and went on to have more children who they kept. I found my birth family a few years ago but things didn't work out with my BM and FS, however my FB and I are very close. We are trying to work out what would happen in the event or either of our deaths.I know when I was adopted I lost all legal rights to my birth family but where do birth siblings stand ? He's in the US and I'm in Scotland. We don't want to be left out of any arrangements , wills etc. Do we have to visit a lawyer in our respective countries to make some kind of legal binding document for Next of Kin etc ?

Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you and it's good to know this site is here.
ILMFP
 
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Re: Legal rights of birth siblings

Postby ladyarcher » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:43 pm

Hi ILMF, and welcome...........

As far as I know, which is not very far, anyone can leave anything to anyone they like......it does not have to be a relative........ an exception is if, for example someone had left a lot of money 'away' i.e. to the cats' home or some such, and there were still very dependent underage children at home.

Another thing that can be challenged, but not always very successfully, is if the deceased can be proved to have been unduly influenced.......... for example, an elderly and vulnerable or confused person who had been coerced, frightened, or in any way 'shoved' into leaving everything to, perhaps, their carer.......

I think, possibly also, a widow can make a challenge if they can prove hardship, or can prove that they were instrumental in helping the achievement of whatever monies were in the deceased estate......for example she may have been of significant help in helping build up a business etc...

Not sure what you are asking really, as both you and your full brother are obviously well over age.......are you saying that you want to leave things to each other, if so it would not look like a problem.......or are you saying that your brother may be left out because he and you are close and he may be penalised because of it......or is it just because you are in different countries.....and feel out of touch with the family........you can't demand to be included in any arrangements for a will as far as I know .........

....remember that a fair number of Scottish laws differ slightly from English ones, and it would be worth checking out inheritance laws there...........whatever your actual question, the answer seems to be you must pay for a lawyer's opinion........and get it in writing.........

LA
born 1944 - adopted 1946 - found b.mother 1972 - sadly missed b.father who died young but who had told his subsequent children that they had two English sisters, so when I made contact with them in Canada they were not shocked.........When I was 25 I found out I had a full sister, adopted separately......after searching for her for forty years, I found her three years ago..........
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Re: Legal rights of birth siblings

Postby ILMFP » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:03 am

Hi ladyarcher and thank you for your reply and welcome,

I realise I wasn't very clear with my question and perhaps was testing the ground so to speak as it was my first post. I'm not sure how much information is needed.

Our concerns ( my full brother and myself ) are with what happens if he passes away in the US having no relatives there as he is going thro a divorce at the moment. My BM and FS have severed all ties with me and we think I wouldn't be informed and left out of any funeral arrangements. Therefore do I need to become his Next of Kin in the US so that I would be told of the situation and then would it mean anything in this country ? I realise NoK in Scotland doesn't go for much but think its different in the US. I presume he will have to go to a lawyer in America ? Also if he wishes to leave anything to me would he have to state in in his will or is my sibling status recognised or not given that I was adopted out of the family at birth ?
I hope I haven't confused matters even more but as you know adoption confuses so many situations.

Kind Regards

ILMFP
ILMFP
 
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Re: Legal rights of birth siblings

Postby ladyarcher » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:46 pm

In these rather less than usual circumstances I would think that your brother needs to have everything tied down totally tightly with lawyers......both here and in the States.........I am certain that anything he wanted to leave to you, would also have to be very specifically stated, I am pretty sure that there is no sibling priority if the sibling has been effectively removed from being a sibling because of adoption ..........it sounds rather, from your questions, as if perhaps your brother is already unwell, or has some serious concerns about his health....... hopefully this is not the case, but if it is, it would be a good idea to have his wishes also known by his Dr. or Consultant ......... if relatives i.e. b.mother and sister state on his death that there is no-one else but them, then who is to know otherwise, it would be normal to believe a close relative's information .........

... even if someone who is dying expresses a wish, this is not always respected.......a close friend of ours died a few weeks ago...... despite him telling his nurse in hospital that he did not want his family informed, the solicitors did inform them.......all of us at the funeral knew the reason he had not wanted them there, so they got rather ignored....... it was pretty obvious that they knew nothing about his life at all, and were probably only there for what they might get........ happily he had made a good watertight will and left his entire estate to his old place of work who will no doubt use it for scholarships and bursarys for the students......

If he was in this country he could make you his Executor .....his solicitors would then liase with you in the distribution of his estate and help you through any paperwork......... an Executor can inherit, but you must not have someone whom you want to inherit anything, as a signatory witness, for obvious reasons........I have no idea how the Executor system works in America, if indeed they have such a thing......the Executor is responsible for seeing that the deceased's wishes are carried out, and often people will nominate their solicitor as Executor these days...........is your brother a US citizen........ if not, and he is just there temporarily for work or something, then surely any legal business will be carried out in this country, not in America.........but as I said, he must make sure that plenty of people know his wishes........he could also leave copies of his instructions at his place of work and at his bank, and with his Pastor too, if he is a Church goer..........as well as Drs. and Lawyers........that's the best I can suggest, just having lots of copies around so other people in authority know what was wanted, both for how he wanted things left, and who he wanted to know that he had died, and how he wanted his funeral done..................

LA
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