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DNA testing could be the evidence gold standard to resolve a bequest disputed by two Ivy League universities in the Manhattan Surrogate Court in New York City. Surrogate Renee R. Roth recently denied a request for summary judgment by 15-year-old twin Venezuelan brothers asking that they be recognized as heirs to a $1 million trust established upon the 1977 death of Manice DeForest Lockwood, a trusts and estate lawyer. Estate of Manice DeForest Lockwood, deceased (Manhattan Sur. Ct.). Lockwood had a single heir, his son, Manice DeForest Lockwood III, known as “Chip.” The trust specified that upon the younger Lockwood’s death, which occurred in 1997, the trust remainder be given to his natural-born children or, if none, to Columbia and Yale universities, said Marilyn G. Ordover of the Law Offices of Cullen and Dykman of Brooklyn, N.Y., who represents the universities. The younger Lockwood moved to Venezuela in the early 1980′s with his second wife, Julia. In July 1985, Ms. Lockwood, then 51, claimed to have given birth to twin sons born in a public hospital in Caracas. The documentary evidence of the children’s parentage presented by Ms. Lockwood, which did not include birth certificates, was received skeptically by Surrogate Roth. She noted that purported lab reports dated in 1983 and 1985 were submitted on stationery imprinted with a number for a cell phone that was not available until well into the 1990s. The universities have offered to relinquish any claim to the trust if Ms. Lockwood can prove with DNA evidence that the boys are her sons, said Ordover. “Ordinarily we would be looking for DNA from Chip but she cremated Chip immediately,” said Ordover. “The charities decided they would step back even if these are just Julia’s natural children.” The surrogate has not yet ruled on the DNA proposal and Ms. Lockwood has not volunteered for testing, said Ordover. “Judge Roth said she would make up her mind what to do next based on Julia’s decision,” she said. Edward F. Cox of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler of New York was recently appointed guardian for the boys. He declined comment until he has fully examined the record.

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