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How can establishing paternity after death help a child?

Could you imagine waiting 60 years before finding out who your father was? Most people wouldn't. Unless, of course, your father were someone famous, like the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí.

When the news broke in June regarding a Spanish judge's decision to have the body of Salvador Dalí exhumed in order to settle a paternity suit, some were fascinated by the idea of waiting so long to establish paternity. For others, however, the case raised an important question families here in the United States might be interested in hearing the answer to:

Is it necessary to establish paternity after a non-custodial parent passes away?

For some, the Salvador Dalí case may seem to suggest that establishing paternity is only beneficial if the non-custodial parent was rich and famous. Certainly, establishing paternity in this type of situation would be beneficial to the child because they would have legal standing to contest a will or estate plan for their share of inheritance.

However, a non-custodial parent doesn't have to be well off or famous in order for a child to gain benefits after their passing.

1.)  Insurance policies with a child named as the beneficiary.

After the death of a non-custodial parent, a child may be able to collect survivor benefits, provided the child was named as a beneficiary on the policy.

2.)  Access to Social Security benefits.

If the non-custodial parent was gainfully employed for several years -- or even decades -- prior to their death, their child may be eligible to collect benefits from the Social Security Administration.

3.)  Access to the assets of an estate.

Just as in the case of Salvador Dalí, establishing paternity gives a child legal standing when seeking inheritance money after the death of the non-custodial parent.

The complexity of establishing paternity after a non-custodial parent passes away is tremendous, as you probably realize. Circumstances can change, too, for each person. That's why seeking legal representation in these types of cases may be a necessity rather than an option to be considered.

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