Discovering your ancestry can be both fun and fascinating. At-home DNA tests have grown in popularity in recent years. Often given as a unique gift for loved ones, the kits reveal details about our individual and collective pasts. However, when a test reveals an unexpected relative or biological child, your estate plan may need updating.
If you do not have a will, a newly discovered heir could be entitled to inherit your assets just like your other heirs. This could spell serious trouble for your family after your passing. Without proper planning, a person with whom you have no relationship could end up with the same inheritance as your other relatives.
Genealogy isn’t the straight-forward hobby it once was. If you decide to take a DNA test, it’s important to be aware of the risks. We may be used to our medical information staying private, but commercial DNA testing companies are not subject to the same privacy laws that hospitals must obey. As soon as you send your DNA off for testing, it becomes part of a database regulated by the company behind the kit. These companies can volunteer their database for all kinds of unexpected uses. Police, pharmaceutical companies, and app developers are all hungry for this kind of data.
While it’s never a good idea to let fear guide your decision-making process, it’s a good idea to know exactly what you are getting into when taking these DNA tests. Even if you are certain you don’t have an unknown child to worry about, these tests can bring about all kinds of unexpected legal consequences. With the proper planning, though, you can rest easy knowing your assets are protected.
If you’re concerned about your estate planning after taking a home DNA test, schedule an appointment to meet with us as soon as possible. We can help you formally outline the specific individuals you want to inherit your assets in your estate planning documents and those you wish to disinherit. A