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Can a Paternity Test Be Conducted If the Presumed Father Is Deceased?

When the presumed father is deceased, post-mortem samples will allow establishing the parental link. The samples must be collected through an autopsy (a femur bone, teeth, etc.). In cases of disappearance, the individual's personal belongings can also serve, such as their toothbrush, clothing, cigarette butts, hairbrush, razor, etc.

Procedure to Follow

In principle, two people are sufficient to carry out a paternity test. In the absence of the father or in case of his death, it is still possible to proceed with the test by involving other family members (with their consent). Through the in-depth study of DNA taken from close biological relatives (parents, siblings, etc.), it is possible to construct the genetic profile of the presumed father. Naturally, the accuracy of the tests will depend on the closeness of the parental relationship.

Admissibility of the Results in Court

None of the results obtained by these means are admissible in a court of Justice. However, French law allows for what is called an action for paternity search. This is a legal procedure aimed at establishing the biological filiation link between two individuals. In this case, you cannot use the previous methods of sampling. Only post-mortem samples taken by professionals (autopsy) are considered as irrefutable evidence and especially identifiable.


As with a normal DNA test, the comparison is made based on genetic markers. These DNA sequences, which degrade little over time, are taken from several regions of repetitions. If the presumed father shares a common fragment with the child, he can be considered the biological father.

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