Matter of Seekins, 194 Misc. 2d 42 (Surr. Ct., Westchester 2002)

Surrogate’s Court Litigation – Trusts & Estates – Kinship Proceedings – Proving Inheritance Rights of Nonmarital Children through DNA Testing

Sometimes, inheritance rights depends upon proving kinship of family members through DNA testing. Here, Frank W. Streng represented children of the decedent who were born out of wedlock and were seeking their rightful share of their father’s estate. As part of discovery, Frank sought a court order directing DNA testing of the post-humously produced blood serum of the decedent. In an evolving area of the law, the Surrogate’s Court conditionally permitted such testing, provided that proof existed of the decedent’s “open and notorious” acknowledgement by the decedent of his children. Later on, the case was settled and a DNA test was conducted. As a result of the DNA test, Frank’s clients then received their fair share of their father’s estate.