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Guide to Kinship Hearings – Questions to Ask on a Direct or Cross Examination

Here are some questions to ask at a kinship hearing on a direct (or cross) examination of a distributee who is a witness
In this case, the decedent is an aunt. Can’t ask about the aunt directly because of dead man’s statute. Have to ask witness about their own relationship. Start with nearest common ancestor.
Name your grandparents on your mother’s side (or father’s side, depending on the relationship of the witness to the decedent)
name their children
(whichever child died, ask if they had children. If yes ask their names. Ask if they’re still alive).
(whoever died, ask if they died before the decedent)
For everyone who died before the decedent, ask if they have children
Ask for date of death for everyone who died.
For everyone, ask if they were married, if they had any other marriage, if they had children outside the marriage, if they had any adopted children, what was your relationship with them, where you close, have you meet everyone, do you know them personally.
Did you have family gatherings? Did the decedent bring anyone with them? Did the decedent come regularly? Did you have weddings? Did the decedent bring anyone?
if someone died after the decedent (rare), find their heirs
Have you been to the decedent’s home? How many times? Describe the apartment or house. Was anyone else living in the apartment or house?
Cross:
How do you know the grandparents had X children?