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Are Adopted Children in Kenya entitled to Inheritance?
Can your adopted child(ren) inherit your property in equal measure as your biological children?
The law recognises that an entitled inheritance dependent is any child:
- Born out of wedlock
- Related to either the father or mother
- Expressly recognized or in fact accepted as a child of and either parent has voluntarily assumed permanent responsibility.
This therefore means that adopted children have the right to inherit from their adoptive parents.
The outcome of an adoption order allowed by the court is that:-
- the adoption order is final and binding during the lifetime of the child that shall be adopted.
- the adoptive parents permanently assume all the parental rights and duties of the biological parents in respect of the adopted child.
- the adoptive parents are required to treat the adopted child as though the child was born to them in their marriage
- the child has the right to inherit the adoptive parents’ property.
In the matter of Baby P.T.H eKLR, in considering the adoption order of the above child, the court stated that:
“ For the avoidance of doubt, it is herein declared that all rights, duties, obligations and liabilities of the biological parents or guardians of the child are extinguished and all such rights, duties, obligations and liabilities shall vest in and be exercised by and be enforceable against the adopting parents namely, J.N.K and R.M.N as if the said child were a child born to them inside marriage and in respect of the matters aforesaid the child shall stand to the adopting parents as a child born in wedlock with the right to inherit the Applicants.”
Similarly, In re H.R (Baby)  eKLR, the courts pointed out that the child shall have the right to inherit the adopting parents’ property. The adoption order cannot be recanted. Neither can the parents give up the child owing to any subsequent unforeseen behaviour or other changes in the child.
From the cases above, it is clear that the law regards an adopted child as a child of the marriage who has inheritance rights.
You might also like: The Process of Adoption in Kenya.