VANCOUVER — A Chinese woman trying to prove her baby daughter has sole claim to the fortune of a murdered West Vancouver millionaire has won her bid for a paternity test.
A new British Columbia law says the child stands to inherit everything if the results match.
The B.C. Supreme Court has ordered DNA testing on the remains of Gang Yuan, whose body was found chopped into more than 100 pieces. A man has been charged with second-degree murder.
Contending she is Gang's former lover and the mother of his child, Xuan Yang argues her child is legally entitled to inherit the man's estimated $50-million estate.
The latest development in the saga worthy of an Asian soap opera occurred on July 14, when a judge approved the woman's application for the independent genetics investigation.
A DNA laboratory has now been authorized to obtain a sample from the B.C. coroner, with testing to be completed by Aug. 26.
The court ordered the results be provided to the administrators of Gang's estate. The DNA sample must also be preserved and made available for testing by any other possible children of the dead man.
Requests for comment to lawyers representing the administrators were not returned.
Trevor Todd, a Vancouver-based estate litigation lawyer with 42 years experience, said a positive paternity test would entitle the child to her father's fortune.
"That's going to be pretty darn conclusive. You can have all sorts of other circumstantial evidence, but it comes to down to blood. It's 100 per cent," he said.
"It's just automatic, nothing to contest. That little rich kid's going to need a bodyguard," he joked.
A positive result would mean the case is clear cut based on the law that came into force in March 2014, called the Wills and Estate Succession Act, added Victoria lawyer Charlotte Salomon, who's been practising in the field nearly two decades.
The law defines what happens to a person's estate if they have no will, as was the situation when Gang was killed on May 2.
If the baby is proven to be his offspring, the court would appoint a guardian to hold the money in trust. The remaining funds would flow to the child at age 19.
Xuan also stands to gain a pretty nice lifestyle, Salomon said.
"She can say, 'I have to provide for my child to live in a nice house, in a nice neighbourhood where there's good schools, and of course I'll need a nice car to transport her everywhere, and, and, and'...," said Salomon.
"You can see where there may be some motivation here. In addition to having something for your child, she gets a little bit of a good ride."
The legalities make the back story even more curious.
Xuan alleges her lover's brother has tried blocking her daughter's potential windfall. Her petition to the court claimed he wanted to handle the DNA testing himself, and was moving to cremate the man's remains.
The woman meanwhile describes a love affair over several weeks after she and Gang met in Beijing. They vacationed in Las Vegas, Miami and Mexico before she gave birth in California.
Xuan has put forward evidence, including text messages, that the man was excited about the birth. The two were planning a life together, she stated in court documents.
Few details have ben released about the man's death. Li Zhao, a 54-year-old man married to the victim's cousin, faces the second-degree murder charge.
Gang's home in a tony West Vancouver neighbourhood was in the name of the accused.
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