Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Wikipedia.


A widely used term which has no statutory definition in the UK. In practice, the general rule is to regard spouses and blood relatives as next-of-kin. 

The Mental Health Act 1983 defines a list of certain people who can be treated as the “nearest relative” of a patient. A “nearest relative” has a number of important powers and functions, including the right to discharge a patient who has been formally detained in hospital, make an application for a person to be admitted for assessment, treatment or guardianship and also to object to applications for treatment or guardianship being made by a social worker. Only certain categories of people can become a “nearest relative”, the first being spouses, followed by unmarried heterosexual couples who have lived together for 6 months. A same-sex partner can only become a nearest relative after a period of 5 years.

A person who is “next in bloodline” to a particular person, who would be called upon for certain decisions.

The next-of-kin in the US is generally defined by state law. For example, the order of priority in Virginia (based on autopsy permission) is: spouse, then adult son or daughter, then either parent, then an adult brother or sister, then a guardian of the decedent at the time of death, then any other person authorised or under legal obligation to dispose of the body.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Law & medicine A term “…with two meanings
1. nearest blood relations according to the law of consanguity and.
2. those entitled to take under statutory distribution of intestate's estates…(which) may include a relationship existing by  marriage, and  embrace persons, who …bear no relation of kinship at all'.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
'After the verification exercise,a total of 497 Next-of-kin of deceased officers have been cleared for payment of N1.3 billion.
Mr McDowell said relatively simple legislation would give formal recognition to civil partnerships, granting next-of-kin status to partners and giving tax concessions in the same way as married couples.
"We will be keeping in touch with police and informing the next-of-kin of developments."
Over 38,000 settlers and their next-of-kin are expected to benefit from the allocation.
A spokesman for the RAF said: "Our thoughts and prayers remain with the next-of-kin of the air crew involved in the accident at this very difficult time.
The ethical rules of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) provide that confidential information about a deceased patient should only be divulged 'with the written consent of his or her next-of-kin or the executor of his or her estate'--except where such information ought to be disclosed in terms of a statute or court order, or the disclosure is justified in the public interest.
The Dutch Airf orce Research and Excavation Foundation, Dare, wants to trace the next-of-kin of navigator Sgt James D'Arcy.
The bracelet, which can contain next-of-kin contact information or critical medical information such as allergies and blood types, can help first responders or even good samaritans in dealing with injuries or even a missing person situation.
Inquiries were on-going to identify the man and police say the coroner will be informed today, along with next-of-kin.
Five next-of-kin of three passengers of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 have filed a leave application for judicial review at the High Court to quash the government's decision in classifying several documents on the missing plane under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972.
The next-of-kin card, issued by police, contains medical details and contact numbers for when a person is unconscious after an attack or accident.
The families of victims who perished in the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz centre fire at Kampung Datuk Keramat here, have agreed that 70 per cent of the public donation be distributed among the next-of-kin of the deceased and those injured, while another 30 per cent will go to the tahfiz centre.

Full browser ?