Clause 69 - Protection of trustees and personal representatives

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 6 December 2001.

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Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Parliamentary Secretary (Lord Chancellor's Department) 11:00, 6 December 2001

Let me go back a bit. The idea of the clause, which replicates section 45 of the Adoption Act 1976, is to provide protection for trustees or personal representatives who might distribute property in ignorance of the making or revocation of an adoption order. It is not the same as the hon. Gentleman's example, but imagine that a will is made to distribute property among grandchildren, where the person who made the will dies and an adopted child then comes into the equation. If that will simply stated, ''All my grandchildren shall inherit a portion of my estate,'' the adopted grandchild would acquire the same rights as the other children. However, the trustees of the estate might distribute the money to the natural children and the adopted child without realising that the adoption order had been revoked because a mistake had been made or fraud had been committed in the documents. The clause covers such a situation. The hon. Gentleman would be protected if he were a trustee of an estate and mistakenly distributed money to the wrong children because he did not realise that the order had been revoked.