Use DNA Matching to Unlock Benefits
DNA evidence is the clearest, most sure way to answer questions of how individuals are related. This can be important when a relative is looking to solve a health mystery or obtain financial benefits following another’s death. State laws determine how the estates of people who die “intestate,” that is, without a legal will, will be divided. These divisions are based on legal spouses and blood relatives. In many states, the siblings, nieces and nephews, and cousins follow the immediate family members in priority for obtaining parts of a relative’s estate.
DNA testing has made it possible to show how closely related two people are, which can make a difference when this is a consideration in a matter of inheritance. This type of testing can reveal the difference between direct, biological children, siblings, and with lesser certainty, more extended familial relationships such as nieces, nephews and cousins. This can add a greater sense of certainty to a court’s decision as they divide up the assets of the deceased relative.
Did You Know:
- The process of collecting a DNA sample includes swabbing a Q-tip inside each cheek and sealing the samples in a paper bag after letting them air dry.
- Without laws on the topic, individual estate representatives are left to decide whether or not to take DNA samples from those who have passed on in most states.
- Recently, attorneys have begun advising 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.
- Though not as reliable as and more expensive than a direct sample, “touch DNA” may be collected from personal belongings if necessary.
- In order to establish blood relationships through DNA testing, samples from living relatives can be used without the DNA of the deceased to make determinations of lineage, even though this is not as reliable as using a direct sample from the common relative.
Unlocking Health Mysteries with DNA Testing
Taking DNA samples as part of the burial or cremation preparation process has become so highly recommended that many funeral homes are recommending it to both family members making arrangements for loved ones and people making their own end-of-life arrangements. For those who wish to arrange for samples to be taken, instructions can be left with attorneys in a will or other document to direct loved ones and funeral home employees. DNA testing of a family member can be the key that helps unlock mysteries related to hereditary health conditions. But what if the relative in question has already passed away?
This is, practically speaking, the last best chance to get a reliable, high quality sample. This type of arrangement can help reveal hereditary health issues and answer relationship questions for generations to come.
Yet, even if no sample is taken, advancing technology in the area of DNA testing has come up with an alternative, “touch DNA.” With fewer than ten skin cells, this technology can tell the difference between individuals using samples that are too small for the naked eye to see. These samples are collected from items the person may have handled in their lifetime. As this technology improves, even smaller samples may be possible.