Guidance on who qualifies as next of kin is part of the cremations services in Warrensville Heights, OH that are offered. While we tend to think of next of kin as a colloquial phrase, it is actually a legal phrase in the United States. It determines who can make decisions for someone at the end of life if they don’t have a living will or other advance directives in place and who is in line for legal duties and inheritances if the person doesn’t have a will or living trust in place.
Generally, next of kin refers to someone’s closest blood relatives, which can include both immediate family and extended family, depending on who is alive that is the closest relative. Next of kin has significant legal meaning for end of live medical decision and for the rights of inheritance.
If you create a will, then you designate who executes it and who the beneficiaries of your estate – property, financial assets, and personal belongings – will be and how much of the estate each beneficiary receives.
However, if some dies intestate – without a will – then the legal statutes of Ohio will determine who your next of kin are when deciding on the beneficiaries of your estate. This may mean that things you promised to certain people won’t be done, because there’s no legal document with those instructions.
When determining the line of inheritance for next of kin, a surviving spouse and children are first. The surviving spouse will get most of the estate and the rest will be split among the children.
However, if you do not have a surviving spouse or children (biological or adopted), there is an order in which next of kin is decided.
If your parents are still living, they will be first in the order. Next will be any siblings that survive you. Grandchildren are next in line, followed by your grandparents, if they are still alive. Next are nieces and nephews, then aunts and uncles. Finally, great-grandchildren and great-grandparents, they’re still living, are in the line of inheritance.
Once the next of kin have been identified, then the state will appoint an administrator to distribute the estate. Most of the time, the administrator is a blood relative. If a spouse or children survive you, one of them will most likely be appointed as the administrator of your estate.
Next of kin comes into play when you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself, such as in the case of a coma or dementia. If you don’t have a health care directive that appoints someone as your medical proxy, then the closest blood relative will be designated as your medical representative.
The order for making medical decisions for you is your spouse, your adult children (for minor children, parents or guardians are first), your parents, if they are living, and a line of succession similar to that if you die without a will.
To ensure that your wishes for medical care, end of life decisions, and your estate are handled and carried out the way you want, you should get a health care directive (living will, DNR, etc.) appointing the person you want to make medical decisions for you if you are unable and what you want and done want done to prolong life if you are dying. You should also have a will or a revocable trust drawn up with the distribution of your estate spelled out. Both of these documents are legal with just your signature and a date, but you should try to get your will or revocable trust witnessed and notarized.
For more guidance on qualifications for next of kin after cremations services in Warrensville Heights, OH, our compassionate and experienced team at E. F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home is here to help. You can visit our funeral home at 25900 Emery Road, Warrensville Heights, OH 44123, or you can call us today at (216) 831-7906.