I’m considering cutting my adopted son out of my will, but I’m worried about how he’ll react

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I’m in the process of restructuring my will and finances and have come to some mutual agreement with my wife regarding our adopted son.
We adopted him fully at age 4 and have since raised him and put him through college. He is now 22.
I also have two biological children, aged 28 and 32 respectively.
I have raised all three equally and written up prior drafts of my will which divided finances between all 3, however I do feel that tensions with my adopted son are running highly (and have been for several years).
Post university, he has struggled to find his feet and has repeatedly asked for (or rather begged) for additional allowance and stipends towards his various business ventures. We’re talking failed ‘dropshipping’, cryptocurrency, now even a cafe.
Whilst I admire his ambition, I have through careful monitoring discovered that a good portion of this money has been siphoned off to his biological father.
My wife and I gently supported him reaching out and getting back in contact with his biological father once he turned 18, but I fear that this has done him little good. It now feels as if I am financing not 1 but 2 adult men.
Which brings me to the question of the final outline of my will. My wife and bio kids have also began to suggest cutting him out altogether or drawing a firmer line when it comes to his portion of the inheritance.
Equally, I know that the gravitation of this decision will be hard hitting for him and do not want to act prematurely in leaving the boy feeling abandoned.
Advice appreciated. – Adrian, 56


Dear Adrian,

Firstly, thank you for entrusting me with a very precarious family situation.
Financial matters involving wills and inheritance tend to bring out the worst in people, but I must say that your commitment to fairness and compassion is evident from what you’ve written.

It’s really commendable that you’ve approached this matter with an open heart, treating all your children – adopted and biological – with equal love and support.

However, given the financial support that seems to be indirectly benefiting his biological father, it’s reasonable for you to reassess how the resources are distributed.

You mention ‘stipends’ and ‘allowances’, and I would first readdress these over the actual will itself. Although you no doubt want to support his ambitions and give him the best support to trial and test where it is his passion lies, he is now at 22, an adult. Adults tend not to need allowances, and I would first consider whether he might benefit from trying out these various ventures without your financial safety blanket beneath him. This way you’re less likely to be conscious of the direction in which the money is flowing.

Whilst his decision to seemingly support his biological father also shows compassion and empathy on his part, I’m sure this is not someone you considered yourself supporting financially – even in such an indirect manner.

Hence, having considered the allowance first, I would begin to consider outlining specific conditions or safeguards that align with your values in creating your will. Perhaps a trust with conditions for the disbursement of funds could be an option, ensuring that the money is used to genuinely support your son’s future endeavors rather than unintended channels. At the end of the day, the money is also yours – if you choose not to involve your adopted son as equally as your other children, this would be a fair decision. You’ve demonstrated that this is not a decision you’ve come to based on blood relations but rather actions, so you would be justified in making such a call.

However, he is also still young and has a lot to learn. Communication is key, and you’ve mentioned little thus far about any discussions regarding his biological father and how you view the current disbursement of funds. So, prior to making any final decisions, have an honest and empathetic conversation with your adopted son. Share your concerns, express your love for him, and listen to his perspective. If you consider the limitation or termination of his allowance and make this clear to him, I believe he would be less inclined to go behind your back and do as he wishes with the money.

The creation of wills and splitting up of inheritances is a precarious time, no doubt more so when you have adopted children to think of – the risk of someone feeling left out or abandoned increasing threefold. Nonetheless, I can clearly see that you’ve worked hard in raising all of your children with equal love and supporting them in their endeavors, so while the thought of leaving your son feeling ‘abandoned’ is no doubt a heavy one, do what you can to remind yourself that such a reaction would likely be short-term. Money can drive spite, but the love you have provided will be the ultimate safety net your son is reminded of at the end of the day.

Have confidence in knowing yourself, your finances, and each of your children best; this wisdom will lead you to the fairest decision for your family.

Warm regards,


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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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