Equitable Adoption Law and Legal Definition

Equitable Adoption is legal process that is used in some states to establish inheritance rights for a child when the prospective adoptive parent had entered into an oral contract expressing his or her desire and intention to adopt the child.

The legal doctrines of equitable adoption typically arise when a person who took care of a minor child for many years dies. The decedent may have died without a Will and the child presents a claim to all or part of the estate based on the doctrine. If the decedent died with a Will and the child was not mentioned in the Will, the child may still present a claim for a portion of the parent's estate on the basis of being an omitted or pretermitted child.