The UK’s Trusted Probate Specialists
If a couple are married, the Father does not need to be present with the Birth is registered, and consequently can be named on the Birth Certificate. If the Couple are not married, then the Father must be present when the birth is registered or sign a declaration that he is the Father.
The name of the father on a Birth Certificate can be crucial, particularly if the deceased father left an estate of value and died without a will, or there maybe assets of value that pass to the surviving blood relatives, eg. a life insurance policy.
Amending the birth certificate
Unfortunately, amending the birth certificate when the deceased father has died is far from straightforward. The procedure involves making an application to Court for what is known as declaration of parentage, this is an application which sets out the legal basis as why the birth certificate should be amended. The law is contained in the Family Law Act 1986.
Typically, if possible DNA testing should be undertaken. This would involve the Court ordering a DNA sample to be undertaken between the child and any surviving blood relatives of the Deceased. In extreme cases, the Court can order the DNA of the deceased to be taken if still available eg. sometimes DNA maybe stored or kept by a hospital, belonging to the deceased. We acted in such a case, in the now well known case of Spencer –v Anderson, in which the Court ordered paternity testing be undertaken against samples stored by a hospital belonging to a deceased person. These samples were tested to determine paternity.
After all evidence has been obtained, the Court if satisfied that an Order should be made will then direct the Registrar to amend the Birth Certificate accordingly.
Applying for a declaration of parentage – amending the certificate
The procedure for undertaking a declaration for parentage, can be complicated, and the need for expert advice can be crucial, particularly if there is a dispute amongst family members as to whether a deceased person is the father of a child.
Tim Murden is a solicitor experienced in Declaration of Parentage cases, and can be contacted on 01482 429985 or via e-mail at email@example.com