RIGHTS OF ADOPTED CHILDREN

For two cases concerning the rights of adopted children see New England Merchants National Bank v. Groswold, 387 Mass. 822, 444 N.E.2d 359 (1983) and Elefante v. Newhall, 44 Mass. App. Ct. 299, --N.E.2d-- (1998).

In New England Merchants National Bank the decedent left property to certain named relatives then to issue of said relatives.  One of the relatives had an adopted child.  The court ruled that the adopted child should not take as "issue" under the original will.  The court noted that from 1876 until 1958 that the terms "issue" or "child" in a will or trust includes an adopted child of the decedent, but the term does not include an adopted child of someone other than the decedent.

In Elefante the testator's will was executed in 1968.  As a result, the pre-1958 law did not apply and the word "issue" was deemed to include an adopted child.

These cases make for good reading as they delve into the history of the law of Massachusetts concerning adopted children.