What is My Next of Kin?

There is no firm definition of ‘next of kin’ in Australia. In general terms a person’s next of kin is their closest living relative. So who is the person’s closest living relative? Generally their closest living relative is their spouse, defacto partner, son, daughter or parents (in that order). But see below.

Who should I list as my next of kin?

There are some scenarios where your next of kin is defined in legislation (for instance if you are dealing with the Coroner at least in NSW and VIC then the relevant legislation in those states tells you how you can work out who the next of kin is).

However if you are asked who is your next of kin (for example for an insurance form, by an employer, education providers) you are free to list who you like but you could consider following the same order of priority as the Coroner (in Victoria) to determine who you should list as your next of kin.

Your Next of Kind Order of Priority

That order of priority is as follows:
1. Spouse or defacto partner;

2. If you have no spouse or defacto partner, then your son or daughter, as long as they are over 18;

3. If you have no son or daughter over 18, then a parent;

4. If you have no parent, then a brother or sister who is over 18;

5. If you have no brother or sister who is over 18 then the person who is named in your will as your executor;

6. If you have no will (and therefore no one that is nominated as you executor) then a person that is your personal representative;

7. If you don’t have a personal representative then it’s not going to happen is it… let’s just throw this one in the too hard basket. Sorry…but someone has to break that to you.

Defacto partner – same sex

A defacto relationship does include, by definition, same sex partners as the Family Law Act indicates that a defacto relationship is one in which 2 adult persons (i.e. there is no reference to the gender of the 2 adult persons) are living together and are not married or related by family.

However what is important to note for defacto relationships is that if you are trying to establish that you are the defacto partner of a deceased person then you will need to show evidence that a defacto relationship actually existed (you would not have to do this if there was a will in place). Now for a lot of people that may not be an issue but for others it will be, if for instance the relationship was relatively new.

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