Judiciary: DNA test not needed for 'declaration of paternity' in estate matters

File photo -
File photo -

THE Judiciary has advised that in estate matters, paternity can be proved in many ways and a declaration from the court does not require a DNA or blood test.

In a release on Tuesday, the Judiciary sought to clarify the process concerning applications for the grant of letters of administration by the estate.

Although the statement did not specifically refer to any particular matter, the issue was raised in a lawsuit by a woman who filed a judicial review application complaining of a request by the registrar of the Supreme Court of the probate registry for her to provide a paternity order for her application for letters of administration for her father’s estate.

Mary Harrylal-Hazel said she was told she would be required to provide a paternity order for her application to be processed.

However, her lawsuit contends that it would be impossible for her to comply, as her father died over 19 years ago and he had no living brothers who could assist.

“There is no conceivable way for the applicant to obtain a paternity order and therefore she cannot satisfy the query.

“The applicant is unable to identify a male relative to satisfy ‘the sibling test’ and, therefore, a paternity order cannot be obtained.

It also said the request for the paternity order was unfair, unreasonable, irrational and meant to cause delay in an already stagnant system.

Harrylal-Hazel applied for a grant of letters of administration on February 1, 2022. Her lawsuit said she was told a paternity order was required since her father’s name was not on her birth certificate.

“The applicant has attempted to obtain a paternity order but requires a DNA sample from her deceased and cremated father. That is not possible,” the lawsuit said.

However, the Judiciary, in its statement said, when someone applies for the estate of someone who died without leaving a will, the applicant must prove they are entitled to make the application.

“A grant cannot be given to someone simply because they say it should be. This may require, for example, a declaration of paternity.

“This declaration can be sought from the court and paternity proved in several ways, including by affidavits of other persons who can state reliably that they were aware that the person was the child of the deceased person and was acknowledged as such.

“A declaration of paternity is sought from the court and is not a paternity order and does not require a DNA or blood test.”

When contacted Harrylal-Hazel’s attorney Richard Jaggasar said it was improper for him to comment on the Judiciary’s release, adding “all will be revealed during the course of the matter.”

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