How to Determine Who is the Next of Kin

Last Will And Testament With Money And Planning Of Inheritance

A next of kin describes a person’s closest blood relative or someone with a close relationship to a person (for example, a child or a spouse). There are some differences about who should be named next of kin across different states of Australia, and the discussion often arises amongst families that are experiencing the death of someone close to them.

Although the next of kin has no legal rights, they usually take on responsibilities such as registering the death and organising the funeral of the deceased person. The next of kin relationship is especially important when determining complex issues such as inheritance rights, if a person dies and has no will and/or no children.

Who should be named next of kin?

When someone dies without a will, their closest relative is usually referred to as the next of kin. Generally, this is the chosen order of who should be named next of kin:

  1.  Their spouse or civil partner
  2. Their children; this includes legally adopted children, but usually doesn’t include step-children, unless stated otherwise
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Any person named as an executor in the will
  6. Any person who was the legal personal representative

What if there is no next of kin?

In the circumstance where a person dies in hospital and has no living relatives or close friends, and no assets, the responsibility falls on the hospital to arrange the funeral using governmental services.

If somebody dies at home and has no next of kin, a burial or cremation will be organised for the “deceased destitute person”. This is carried out by the relevant Director of Public Health, who will arrange the funeral through a government agency, once a doctor has issued a medical certificate containing the cause of death.

A person that does have sufficient assets, but no next of kin, will have their funeral arranged by the NSW Trustee and Guardian, using the person’s own assets.

What is a senior next of kin?

The “senior next of kin” is the person or family member of the person that has passed, who becomes the main point of contact for the Coroner and the primary person in charge of decisions. Establishing the senior next of kin is important, as it provides one singular person for the Coroner to be in touch with, rather than having to contact multiple members of the family.

The senior next of kin is chosen based on the numbered system we have listed above.

Contact Affordable Cremations for support

We understand that this can be a confusing and complicated time. If you’ve been named the senior next of kin for someone close to you that has recently passed, Affordable Cremations offers a personal service for no service, no attendance funerals in New South Wales. We’re available 24 hours a day, so call us anytime on 1300 95 95 35 for a conversation with a member of our team.

Blended Families and Funeral Arrangements

Family laying flowers on the grave

The world is changing and blended families are now the norm. Ex-partners, step parents and some other more complex relationships can cause confusion when it comes to arranging a funeral. Making the best choice for the eulogy, type of funeral and even the funeral music can cause arguments and further the divide between the family.

Planning a funeral can be demanding enough when you’re dealing with the grief from losing a loved one, but when family disputes and end-of-life debates are involved, the process can be even more difficult. This is the time when the emotions of multiple people are high, so we’ve put together some tips to help you make the most of this situation.

1. Be prepared to deal with individual personalities

Some people are more difficult to deal with in general, and they probably won’t be any different when dealing with end-of-life issues. Plan beforehand how to deal with such a person, and try to stay calm and focused during family conversations about the funeral.

If someone is interfering with the process, consider asking them to put their feelings in writing so you can properly take their thoughts into account in a measured way.

2. Understand that everyone has their own grief

From time-to-time, people will want to attend the funeral or cremation service, even if you didn’t expect them to. You may even doubt their sadness, but try to push this aside and remember that everyone is suffering right now.

For example, your husband’s ex-wife may no longer have a relationship with your husband. However, if he were to die, it’s likely that old emotions would resurface and she may want to honour their relationship and say goodbye. There’s no “right way” to behave here, and each family is different. If you feel the ex-wife’s presence may upset certain people, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want her to attend. However, if she wants to show her condolences and you don’t anticipate disruption, consider inviting her.

3. Consider end-of-life wishes

Complex or blended families often have conflicting conversations about how to arrange a funeral, but many arguments can be avoided by collecting information about the wishes of the person that recently passed.

If they have already expressed their wishes about their funeral arrangements, honour them as much as you can. Did they want to be buried or cremated? Which city did they love or always want to visit? Try to make the goodbye unique to them – from the eulogies to the place you bury or scatter their ashes. Of course, it’s important that everyone in the family is open and explicit about their own desires for anything else, so you’re not left feeling unheard once the day of the funeral arrives.

Contact Affordable Cremations for a personal service

We understand the complexities of family circumstances, and we’ll work closely with you to offer the funeral service you wish for, to properly honour the life of your family member. We welcome you to call us on 1300 95 95 35 or contact us online. Day or night, we’re there for you.