Can You File For Paternity After The Father's Death?


Do you have a child whose father has never been legally established as having paternity? Establishing paternity can be an important component in a child's life and well-being. There are obvious emotional benefits to having an active father in a child's life. Children often benefit from having visitations and even split custody with an active and caring father.

However, even if the father doesn't plan on being active in the child's life, there are other important reasons to establish paternity. Child support is a big reason. Child support can often result in thousands of dollars of each year to help care for your child. There are also other financial considerations, like health insurance coverage and other financial benefits. In fact, there could even be financial resources for your child after the father passes away.

Below are a few reasons why it's still important to establish paternity after the father's death and a few ways in which you can accomplish that goal.

Why You Should Establish Paternity After the Father's Death

It may seem like it's unnecessary to continue pursuing paternity after your child's father passes away. After all, they can't have visitations with the child or pay child support at that point. However, there are other important benefits to consider.

One benefit is Social Security. Your child may be entitled to Social Security survivor benefits after their father passes away. The amount your child would receive depends on the father's age and earnings history. If the father has retired or is receiving disability payments, and your child is under the age of 18, the child may be entitled to receiving benefits. To do so, though, you will have to establish that the father has legal paternity over the child.

There could also be inheritance or life insurance benefits at stake. If you can establish paternity after the father's death, you may be able to file claims against the father's estate and secure some financial benefits for your child.

How to Establish Paternity After Death

Time is not on your side after the father's death, so it is important to move quickly. You may be able to get a court order to have a sample of the father's DNA secured at the funeral home or by the local coroner. If you are not able to secure those steps in time, there may be other options available.

Some courts will accept DNA samples from male relatives in place of the father's DNA. This is because the Y chromosome in biological male relatives is often very similar. So it's possible that you could collect a DNA sample from the father's father, brother, or son and use that in place of the father's DNA to determine paternity.

A paternity attorney can help you explore your options but it is important to take action quickly. The sooner you can establish paternity, the earlier your child can begin receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled. 

For more information, contact a local paternity lawyer


23 August 2022

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