Use DNA Matching to Unlock Benefits
There are many situations where the DNA of someone who has passed away can be helpful, if not critical to solving health mysteries or unlocking financial benefits. Often, whether or not a person is entitled to financial benefits after the death of another person hangs on whether they can prove they were a blood relative to the person who died.
DNA evidence is clearest, most sure way to answer those questions.
State laws determine how the estates of people who die “intestate,” that is, without a legal will, will be divided. In most states inheritance laws favor legal spouses and biological children first; then siblings; then nieces and nephews; then more distant cousins; etc.
Advances in DNA testing have made it possible, to a limited degree, to determine these relationships and show how directly a person was related to someone who has died. DNA testing and analysis can tell the difference between direct, biological children, siblings, and with lesser certainty, more extended familial relationships such as nieces, nephews and cousins, making decisions in these cases much easier and adding a much greater degree of certainty about and confidence in the final decision.
Did You Know:
- Collecting a DNA sample is as simple as swabbing Q-tips inside each cheek, allowing them to air dry and then sealing them in a paper bag. (of course, this type of informal testing would not necessarily suffice for forensic or judicial evidentiary purposes without more formal process.
- Most states do not have laws relating to collecting DNA from deceased persons, and so individual estate representatives are largely free to decide.
- Attorneys are beginning to advise their funeral home clients to counsel family members that at the time of a loved one’s death is the last best chance to secure such direct samples.
- If direct DNA samples of a deceased person are not collected, “touch DNA” may be collected from their personal belongings, but it is more expensive and less certainty that reliable results can be obtained.
- If direct DNA samples of a deceased person are not collected, familial relationships of unknown persons can still be determined by comparison with DNA samples from known blood relatives, but again with greater cost and inconvenience, and lower certainty and reliability of usable results.
Unlocking Health Mysteries with DNA Testing
DNA testing of a family member relative can be the key that helps unlock mysteries related to hereditary health conditions. But what if the relative in question has already passed away? One of the greatest legacies a family member can leave is the gift of a DNA sample. If not arranged before their death, it is a simple and easy matter to arrange for the collection of a DNA sample by the funeral home at the time a person’s body is being prepared for cremation or burial.
Attorneys can help you include instructions in your will or in a separate legal document, directing funeral home personnel, your loved ones or the administrator/executor of your estate that you want a DNA testing sample be taken before the final disposition of your remains.. This is, practically speaking, the last best chance to get a reliable, high quality sample.
A growing number of funeral home directors include a discussion of the benefits of DNA sample collection when they work with family members at the passing of a loved one. They also have these discussions with those proactive individuals who make their own end-of-life arrangements in advance. It is a simple service with potentially far-reaching beneficial impact on families for generations to come.
But even if that isn’t done, the increasing sensitivity of DNA testing allows more reliable results with smaller and smaller samples. A new subset of the DNA science called “touch DNA” can identify separate individuals from fewer than ten distinct skins cells collected from items handled casually by different people — samples that are invisible to the naked eye. This is the type of DNA evidence that finally cleared the parents of Jon Benet Ramsey from accusations of her murder in the famous, decades-long murder investigation.
Contact ARCpoint Labs of Worcester for your Deceased DNA Services!
Call ARCpoint Labs of Worcester today for more information about Deceased DNA Matching and other ways DNA testing may help you and your family.