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DNA Questions on Death


Loyal Member
Staff member
Nottingham, England.
DNA seems to be a huge growth area in Family History /Genealogy

We are all encouraged to test the DNA of our older generation relatives whenever possible, by the DNA companies concerned. They are all actively pushing this more and more.

But, this brings us to a rather sensitive subject to -

What happens to the DNA and the test results when someone dies?

Should my older generation's will specify who gets the DNA results? And will companies accept this Legal Will?

Specifically, are there any standards across the industry for how this is handled in the UK (or elsewhere)?

From what I have seen, there are NO indications or answers from any of the main DNA suppliers!

Once again, shoddy work by the main companies in my mind!

Let us know your thoughts and any literature of companies that answer this question folks

Maybe this is a question you should be raising, not just on this particular question, but on a lot of our Family History / Genealogy we share around many web sites!

Ask that question now
Ancestry specifys the sample belongs to the person who puchases it, they say if you ask them to destroy it they will do as requested. A foreign company who trades in the UK are subject to UK trading standards and laws. I think if you have a will and it specifys what happenes to the test I don't think the company can do much about it.

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This question should also be considered regarding web sites and the internet. If someone puts up a website what happens to it when they die? Who has the ultimate responsibilty - next of kin or the service provider?

I would have thought your elderly relative would have talked about the results or even allowed you to take a picture on your phone. As for the owner of a website,if payments are not made ,then I should think the web provider will have the say on it.
For myself, personally, I have a locked vault online, that has all my passwords and other "online" items of importance, which will be specified in my will - with a master password.

It does astound me though, the big companies, which will remain nameless, lack the planning and the will to ensure their customers have the ability to "pass on" their family trees, their research, their DNA etc all onto their family.

I had a discussion with one of the big companies and asked them if there would be an option, if I took up what they wanted me to do, an option to pass on the findings onto a family member.
The answer was "No" as they would need to pay a membership fee!
I explained that if I died, I would want to pass this information on. They replied they would have to look in to it.

3 months later....... I am still waiting!:eek:
I have my Family tree records on separate Seagate backup from my working computer. My direct lines records are all printed out and on Binders . My Ancestry records are saved by gedcom and also put on Seagate .I also am lucky to have CD discs of several parishes.