Can You Adopt an Adult in Pennsylvania?

February 19, 2018
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Can you adopt an adult in Pennsylvania?

The answer is yes. With the assistance of an experienced adoption attorney, you can legally adopt an adult in Pennsylvania through a fairly straightforward legal process.

Whether you’re considering adopting another adult or are the individual wanting to be adopted, please contact the adoption professionals at Bierly & Rabuck to learn more about the adult adoption process. While the process can be simple and cost-effective, it’s necessary that you work with an adoption attorney to meet any necessary legal requirements. Only then can you formalize whatever parent-child relationship already exists between you and another adult.

Please call our attorneys today at 814-237-7900 to discuss your individual adoption situation, including whether you can legally adopt an adult in Pennsylvania.

How Old Can You Be to Be Adopted in PA?

“Can you adopt someone over 21?” “Can you adopt an 18 year-old?”

These are a few of the common questions that our adoption attorneys get from those interested in an adult adoption in Pennsylvania. In most cases, you can be adopted at any age, no matter how young or old you are.

For most people, an adoption process means a child adoption, but you should know that you can adopt someone over 18 in Pennsylvania, as well. A person never outgrows the need for a parent, which is why Pennsylvania adoption laws do allow for adopting an 18 year-old or someone older.

Oftentimes, adult adoptions occur when there is an existing parent-child relationship between two adults. For example, former foster parents may wish to adopt a former foster child who has aged out of the system, or an adult may wish to be adopted by their parent’s new spouse. Like every other adoption, an adult adoption involves the termination of the adoptee’s legal parents’ rights, although consent is not required.

While most people ask questions like “Can I adopt an 18 year-old or any other young adult?” know that you can legally adopt an adult of any age — including the elderly. Typically, an adult adoption of an elderly person occurs when an elderly or incapacitated adult cannot independently care for themselves. This adoption process allows caretakers, as adoptive parents, to streamline the process of making health, medical and financial decisions for this adult.

Therefore, in most cases, you can adopt someone older than you, as long as you are a legal adult yourself. Pennsylvania laws do not set any requirements for age gaps with an adult adoption, although certain circumstances will be taken into account by an adoption court before an adoption can be finalized (more on that below).

If you have questions about the adoption process based on the adoptee’s age, you can always contact our legal professionals for more information.

Can I Adopt an Adult in My Life?

As mentioned, those wanting to complete an adult adoption in Pennsylvania will need to work with an experienced adoption attorney to meet all the necessary legal requirements. An adoption attorney will help you understand how your personal circumstances may influence your ability to adopt or be adopted.

While usually you can adopt an adult in Pennsylvania, there are a few situations where an adult adoption may not be allowed:

  • If there was a pre-existing sexual relationship between the adult wanting to adopt and the adult being adopted
  • If the adult adoptee or adoptive parent has been convicted of a felony or faces criminal charges
  • If the adult adoptee is not competent enough to understand what’s going on
  • If fraudulent reasons are suspected for seeking the adoption

By an adult adopting someone over 18, that adoptee’s legal parents’ rights will be terminated. This means that individual’s right to inherit from their legal parents will cease upon finalization.

There is no requirement to notify and obtain consent from an adult adoptee’s legal parents before completing the adult adoption process in Pennsylvania. There is also no requirement for a home study or similar investigative background check. After the adoption is complete, the adult adoptee will be issued a new birth certificate as well as a legal name change, if desired.

If you’re wondering if you can legally adopt an adult in Pennsylvania with your personal circumstances, we encourage you to call us at 814-237-7900 to learn more about the adoption options available to you.

What are the Legal Benefits of Adopting an Adult?

Not only can you adopt an adult in Pennsylvania, but doing so often provides many advantages for the adoptee and adoptive parent.

Because many who complete this process already have an existing parent-child relationship, the adoption process legalizes this relationship. After an adoption is finalized, the adoptee has full rights to inheritance and social security benefits, access to medical records, and more.

As mentioned above, those who complete an adult adoption of an elderly or incapacitated person also gain the right to make decisions for them, protecting them in a time of their life when they cannot appropriately do so themselves.

Adult adoptions in Pennsylvania were created for these very reasons — to provide legal advantages of parenthood after a child becomes a legal adult.

How to Adopt a Person Over 18 in PA Today

For those asking, “Can I adopt an adult in Pennsylvania?” the first step is contacting an experienced adoption attorney like those at Bierly & Rabuck. Our legal professionals can provide all of the services you need to complete an adult adoption in Pennsylvania, which is a relatively streamlined and inexpensive way to legalize the protections of a parent-child relationship.

To learn more today, please contact our offices.