Who has the burden of proof in a Kinship Proceeding?
In order to establish their rights as persons entitled to inherit (known as "distributees"), the alleged heirs (or "claimants") in a kinship proceeding must prove:
1) their relationship to the decedent;
2) the absence of any person with a closer degree of consanguinity to the decedent; and
3) the number of persons having the same degree of consanguinity to the decedent or to the common ancestor through which they take.
Claimants who allege to be distributees of the decedent have the burden of proof on each of these elements.
The quantum of proof required to prove kinship is a fair preponderance of the credible evidence. This means that the alleged heirs must prove that it is more likely than not that they are the distributees of the decedent (or, simply put, that they are entitled to inherit).
The burden of proof is always on the claimants.