Adoption is a parent/child relationship established by a legal act between a person, either adult or minor (the adopted child) and another person (the adopter). In French adoption law, there are two types of adoption: simple adoption and full adoption.
Simple adoption leaves the legal ties between the adopter and his or her family of origin intact. In particular, the adopted person retains his or her inheritance rights. At the same time, the adopted child acquires the same inheritance rights from the adoptive parents as other biological children. Adoptees, therefore, have dual inheritance rights, i.e. a double right to inherit: the first from their biological parents, the second from their adoptive parents.
In contrast, full adoption severs all legal ties between the adopted child and his or her family of origin. The adopted person has a new filiation, which replaces his or her original filiation. A new birth certificate is drawn up and the child is registered in the adopter's family record book. As a result, he or she will be entitled to inherit from his or her adoptive parents under the same conditions as a non-adopted child, and will be excluded from inheriting from his or her biological family.
By creating a new relationship between the adopter and the adopted child, full adoption confers on the adopted child the same rights and obligations as a legitimate child. A child adopted by means of a full adoption, therefore, benefits from the same inheritance rights as the adopter's biological children: he or she becomes a reserved heir of his or her adoptive family and of the latter's ascendants (the adoptive grandparents).
While the adopted child is entitled to the succession of his adoptive parents, he is at the same time excluded from the succession in his biological family.
In principle, the family relationship resulting from adoption is not taken into account when calculating inheritance tax. The adopted person must pay an inheritance tax of 60% of the value of estate inherited.
However, the law provides for several cases in which the adopted child may benefit from the same rights as the adopter's biological children (article 786 of the General Tax Code):
If the adopted person meets one of these conditions, he or she will also be able to benefit from the allowances reserved for biological children:
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