Next of kin

A term used in wills and probate matters.

Next of kin refers to the person entitled to the estate when a person dies without leaving a will. As next of kin if you believe that a will has been made but has not been found you can take steps to try to trace a will. In the event of no will being traced the estate will be shared out under the 'rules of intestacy'. These rules set out who deals with the estate and who benefits from it.

Next of kin are chosen in a strict order set out below:

The husband, wife or registered civil partner of the person who has died. (But not their unmarried or unregistered partner - common-law spouse).

Children of the person who has died if they are over 18 or their children's descendants (i.e their grandchildren) if they are over 18.

The parents of the person who has died.

Brothers or sisters of the person who has died providing they have the same mother and father as the dead person (or descendants of the brothers and sisters).

Half brothers or sisters of the person who died providing they had either the same mother or the same father as the dead person (or their descendants).

The grandparents of the person who died.

Uncles or aunts 'of the same blood' of the person who died (that is to say brothers and sisters of the dead person's parents providing they had the same mother and father as the dead person's parents) or their descendants.

Uncles or aunts 'of the half blood' of the person who died (that is to say brothers and sisters of the dead person's parents providing they had the same mother or father as the dead person's parents) or their descendants.

If there are no living relatives the Crown (the state) will deal with the estate and will also have any benefit from the will.

In the case of brothers and sisters having equal right to deal with the estate letters of administration will normally be given to the first to apply.

Learn more about the rules of intestacy by using this link Who can inherit if there is no will – the rules of intestacy.

 

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