Texas Wills and Probate Law
GENETIC TESTING IN PROCEEDINGS TO DECLARE HEIRSHIP
TEXAS ESTATES CODE, TITLE 2. SUBTITLE E. CHAPTER 204.
§ 204.001. PROCEEDINGS AND RECORDS PUBLIC.
A proceeding under this chapter or Chapter 202 involving genetic testing is open to the public as in other civil cases. Papers and records in the proceeding are available for public inspection.
COURT ORDERS FOR GENETIC TESTING IN PROCEEDINGS TO DECLARE HEIRSHIP
§ 204.051. ORDER FOR GENETIC TESTING.
(a) In a proceeding to declare heirship under Chapter 202, the court may, on the court's own motion, and shall, on the request of a party to the proceeding, order one or more specified individuals to submit to genetic testing as provided by Subchapter F, Chapter 160, Family Code. If two or more individuals are ordered to be tested, the court may order that the testing of those individuals be done concurrently or sequentially.
(b) The court may enforce an order under this section by contempt.
§ 204.052. ADVANCEMENT OF COSTS.
Subject to any assessment of costs following a proceeding to declare heirship in accordance with Rule 131, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the cost of genetic testing ordered under Section 204.051 must be advanced:
(1) by a party to the proceeding who requests the testing;
(2) as agreed by the parties and approved by the court; or
(3) as ordered by the court.
§ 204.053. ORDER AND ADVANCEMENT OF COSTS FOR SUBSEQUENT GENETIC TESTING.
(a) Subject to Subsection (b), the court shall order genetic testing subsequent to the testing conducted under Section 204.051 if:
(1) a party to the proceeding to declare heirship contests the results of the genetic testing ordered under Section 204.051; and
(2) the party contesting the results requests that additional testing be conducted.
(b) If the results of the genetic testing ordered under Section 204.051 identify a tested individual as an heir of the decedent, the court may order additional genetic testing in accordance with Subsection (a) only if the party contesting those results pays for the additional testing in advance.
§ 204.054. SUBMISSION OF GENETIC MATERIAL BY OTHER RELATIVE UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES.
If a sample of an individual's genetic material that could identify another individual as the decedent's heir is not available for purposes of conducting genetic testing under this subchapter, the court, on a finding of good cause and that the need for genetic testing outweighs the legitimate interests of the individual to be tested, may order any of the following individuals to submit a sample of genetic material for the testing under circumstances the court considers just:
(1) a parent, sibling, or child of the individual whose genetic material is not available; or
(2) any other relative of that individual, as necessary to conduct the testing.
§ 204.055. GENETIC TESTING OF DECEASED INDIVIDUAL.
On good cause shown, the court may order:
(1) genetic testing of a deceased individual under this subchapter; and
(2) if necessary, removal of the remains of the deceased individual as provided by Section 711.004, Health and Safety Code, for that testing.
§ 204.056. CRIMINAL PENALTY.
(a) An individual commits an offense if:
(1) the individual intentionally releases an identifiable sample of the genetic material of another individual that was provided for purposes of genetic testing ordered under this subchapter; and
(2) the release:
(A) is for a purpose not related to the proceeding to declare heirship; and
(B) was not ordered by the court or done in accordance with written permission obtained from the individual who provided the sample.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
RESULTS OF GENETIC TESTING
§ 204.101. RESULTS OF GENETIC TESTING; ADMISSIBILITY.
A report of the results of genetic testing ordered under Subchapter B:
(1) must comply with the requirements for a report prescribed by Section 160.504, Family Code; and
(2) is admissible in a proceeding to declare heirship under Chapter 202 as evidence of the truth of the facts asserted in the report.
§ 204.102. PRESUMPTION REGARDING RESULTS OF GENETIC TESTING; REBUTTAL.
The presumption under Section 160.505, Family Code:
(1) applies to the results of genetic testing ordered under Subchapter B; and
(2) may be rebutted as provided by Section 160.505, Family Code.
§ 204.103. CONTESTING RESULTS OF GENETIC TESTING.
(a) A party to a proceeding to declare heirship who contests the results of genetic testing may call one or more genetic testing experts to testify in person or by telephone, videoconference, deposition, or another method approved by the court.
(b) Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the party offering the testimony under Subsection (a) bears the expense for the expert testifying.
USE OF RESULTS OF GENETIC TESTING IN CERTAIN PROCEEDINGS TO DECLARE HEIRSHIP
§ 204.151. APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER.
This subchapter applies in a proceeding to declare heirship of a decedent only with respect to an individual who claims to be a biological child of the decedent or claims to inherit through a biological child of the decedent.
§ 204.152. PRESUMPTION; REBUTTAL.
The presumption under Section 160.505, Family Code, that applies in establishing a parent-child relationship also applies in determining heirship in the probate court using the results of genetic testing ordered with respect to an individual described by Section 204.151, and the presumption may be rebutted in the same manner provided by Section 160.505, Family Code.
§ 204.153. EFFECT OF INCONCLUSIVE RESULTS OF GENETIC TESTING.
If the results of genetic testing ordered under Subchapter B do not identify or exclude a tested individual as the ancestor of the individual described by Section 204.151:
(1) the court may not dismiss the proceeding to declare heirship; and
(2) the results of the genetic testing and other relevant evidence are admissible in the proceeding.
ADDITIONAL ORDERS FOLLOWING RESULTS OF GENETIC TESTING
§ 204.201. ORDER FOR CHANGE OF NAME.
On the request of an individual determined by the results of genetic testing to be the heir of a decedent and for good cause shown, the court may:
(1) order the name of the individual to be changed; and
(2) if the court orders a name change under Subdivision (1), order the bureau of vital statistics to issue an amended birth record for the individual.