Have you ever heard the words ‘next of kin’ and wondered what they really meant? You’ve come to the right place! Understanding this concept can be very important to take care of your loved ones’ interests once they have passed. Read on to learn more about what it means, and how it may affect you.
Next of kin most simply means the closest blood relative who is living.
How to Prove You Are Next of Kin
If you believe you may be next of kin but are not represented in a legal list of family members, time is of the essence to notify the administrator of the estate once your family member has passed. This sometimes occurs if the administrator was not aware of or forgot a child of the deceased from a previous marriage.
If you are in a situation where the administrator purposely left you out, your best bet would be seeking the help of an experienced probate attorney who could help advocate for your rights as next of kin.
On your end, assembling documents like a birth certificate and giving an affidavit regarding your relationship with your family member can be extremely helpful for a court to determine that you are legally the next of kin.
Who Is the Next of Kin When Someone Dies?
This depends on who is remaining in the family. If a parent dies, it will typically go to a child. If there are multiple children, they will all be considered next of kin- this includes adopted children as well. The estate would be distributed among these remaining children.
If an individual passes away and has no children, the next of kin would typically move up to living parents. In the case that no parents are alive, the next of kin may become a sibling of the deceased. If a sibling is no longer alive but the deceased has nieces or nephews, they may be the next of kin.
What Rights Does a Next of Kin Have Legally?
Next of kin is a great tool for an administrator or court to use in the case where a decedent did not have a formal will written. It determines who may receive an inheritance when it is not previously spelled.
Certain states allow the next of kin to make important medical decisions for an individual throughout the later stages of their life if that person is unable to do so themselves. It is a great idea to familiarize with your state’s policies regarding this.
Next of Kin Versus Power of Attorney
Next of kin is strictly determined by the deceased’s familial relationship with someone, while Power of Attorney is a legal designation given by the deceased. While one cannot typically choose their next of kin since it is often blood family members, they may choose their Power of Attorney.
Choosing the right person to legally represent one’s estate is crucial to ensure a smooth allocation of assets.
Knowledge is Power
Educating yourself about the later stages of life can be daunting, but having knowledge makes the process smoother and more organized for everyone involved. We hope that today you take away what being next of kin means, how to prove it, and how it may apply to your personal situation.
Check out our home page to check out the amazing resources we have about the journey into the later stages of life. We wish you and your loved ones a wonderful week.