Rights of the adoptive child

A judicially approved adoption contract gives rise to the same rights

  • between on the one hand the adoptive father and/or adoptive mother and their descendants and
  • on the other hand the adoptive child (and, where applicable, his or her descendants who are minors at the time of adoption)

as the rights established by the parentage of a child. This means, for instance, that the adoptive child is entitled to maintenance and inheritance from his or her adoptive parents.

No family relationship is established with the other relatives of the adoptive parents. There is therefore no statutory right of inheritance either. In relation to the biological parents and their parentage, the adoption does nothing to change the right of inheritance. An adoptive child therefore inherits twice in accordance with the statutory rules of succession, i.e. both upon the death of his or her biological parents and upon the death of the adoptive parents.

Right of inheritance in the event of the death of the adoptive child

In the event of the death of the adoptive child, the entire inheritance passes to the first line, i.e. the descendants of the adoptive child. If the adoptive child leaves no descendants, however, the adoptive parents and their descendants take precedence over the biological parents and their descendants in the succession. It is only if the adoptive parents and their descendants cannot or do not want to inherit that the biological parents and their descendants have a chance of inheriting.

However, if the adoptive child was adopted by only one parent, the right of inheritance of the other biological parent is preserved. In this case, the child’s estate is divided equally between the adoptive parent and the biological parent.


The child was adopted by only one adoptive mother. The biological father’s right of inheritance continues to exist and he shares the estate with the adoptive mother of the deceased child.

Rules on names

The adoption does not automatically result in a change of name. However, the surname of the adoptive child can be changed after the adoption. More detailed information on the subject of 'change of name' can also be found at www.oesterreich.gv.at. The competent → registry officeGerman text offers advice on the subject of the rules on names.

Stepchild adoption

Since 2013 stepchild adoption has also been possible for same-sex couples. It is also applicable to adoptions in respect of which the written adoption contract was entered into before that date but judicial authorisation was refused. Legally, the relations between the biological parent and the child under family continue to exist if the child is adopted by the same-sex partner of that parent.

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2023

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Justice