How do i establish paternity if a father is deceased?

prove paternity when father is deceased

What Is Paternity Establishment?

Paternity establishment allows unmarried alleged biological father the opportunity to be legally recognized as a legal father in the eyes of the state. This is can be done several ways.

1. A father can sign an Acknowledgement of paternity form at a hospital.

2. It can be signed at your local child support office or,

3. It can be signed at your local birth registrar’s office.

Please keep in mind that signing an Acknowlegdement of Paternity form makes the document a legally binding document. What this means is, the man is legally obligated to support the child financially.

How to establish paternity when a father is deceased?

Oftentimes proving paternity when an alleged biological father is deceased could be a challenging process if you are attempting to acquire Survivor Benefits or adding a name to a child’s birth certificate. Below we will provide a brief overview of establishing paternity through DNA testing.

DNA Testing For Survivor Benefits

In order to attain survivor benefits for Social Security when the biological father’s name is not on the birth certificate. The mother or legal guardian will have to prove paternity. This can be done by performing a paternity test with the deceased father’s DNA samples (if available). Please check with the coroner’s office to see during the autopsy if any genetic samples were collected of the father.

What to do if the deceased father’s samples are not available?

If the coroner’s office does not have any genetic samples such as a blood card or another forensic sample that can be tested. We recommend that you speak with Social Security to inquire about other DNA testing alternatives they will accept such as a Grandparent DNA Test or Sibling DNA test.

DNA Testing To Add A Deceased Father’s Name To A Birth Certificate?

 Adding a deceased alleged father’s name to a birth certificate can be done a few ways.

1. Contact the coroner’s office to inquire about any DNA samples being available to be tested such as blood card samples, bone (femur) or another forensic sample.  If there is a sample on file contact our office at 866-205-8356 and allow one of our associates the opportunity to assist you.

2. If there are no genetic samples on file. Performing a DNA test with a relative of the decease alleged father like, one or both parents, or if the father has any other children that where his name is on the birth certificate may be possibility.

Please note, We strongly recommend that you contact your state’s Vital Records office and inquire about the process of alternative DNA testing to establish the paternity of a child.

As we understand it, you may have to complete and file paperwork with the Superior Family Court in your city and go before a judge in order to get permission to perform an alternative DNA test.

Paternity Testing To Prove Paternity

When performing a paternity test to establish the paternity of a child you must perform a legal paternity test. At Home Paternity Test Kits will not be recognized in Family Court or by Social Security. Only DNA samples that are tested and analyzed by an AABB Accredited DNA Testing lab will be recognized. 

All Legal DNA Testing chain of custody services Paternity Express provides are performed by our partner AABB Accredited DNA Testing laboratory. What this means is, your results will be recognized by a Family Court Judge or Social Security.

To schedule an appointment or to learn more about our process. Contact our office today at 866-205-8356 to get started.

When will I receive my DNA testing results?

The average turnaround time for results to be completed is 2 to 3 business days from the date the lab receives all genetic samples.  Please note, if a forensic sample like a femur bone is being tested the average turnaround will be 7 to 10 business days.


If you are attempting to establish the paternity of a child with a deceased father. We recommend that you contact Vital Records in your city first. If you are able to add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate first  Then you will be able to submit the birth certificate to Social Security to retrieve Survivor Benefits much easier.

If you would to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our process. Contact our office today at 866-205-8356 to get started.