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Digging Up Dad’s Grave for $50 Million, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA


Most people would not consider digging up their father’s grave for the sole purpose of securing a DNA test to prove that the man listed on their birth certificate is not their real father.  A woman in New York did just that.

Nina Sebastiana Viola Montepagani asked a court for permission to dig up the body of the man who reared her and who was listed as her father on her birth certificate.

Not a pretty picture, we agree.

She wanted to get a DNA test done so that she could prove that he was not really her father and have his name expunged from her birth certificate.

The judge allowed this to take place because a family story claims that Ms. Montepagani’s mother had an affair with an Italian physician, Dr. Sebastiano Raeli. Her mother is said to have sailed to America when she was 8 months pregnant and married the other man who reared Ms. Montepagani as his own child.

So, why was it important for Ms. Montepagani to remove him from her birth certificate?

If she can prove that she is Dr. Raeli’s daughter, she would be his only heir and stand to inherit $50 million.

As it turns out, the DNA test came in and proved that the man who raised her was in fact not her biological father.

It is not known if a DNA test will also be needed on Dr. Raeli for Ms. Montepagani to receive the inheritance.

The story was reported in (where else?) The New York Post, famous for its colorful headlines.  This one was no exception: “Woman digs up dead dad to get ‘real’ father’s $50M.”

While this is an unusual case, it goes to show that inheritances can get extremely complicated when a person has children who are not known.

Contact an estate planning attorney to make sure that your estate is prepared for these situations.

Reference: New York Post (June 13, 2015) “Woman digs up dead dad to get ‘real’ father’s $50M.”

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