Consanguinity refers to the degree of biological relationship between people who share a common ancestor. It signifies a genetic connection between family members.
Consanguinity holds significance within legal and genealogical frameworks during Probate as it proves relationships and their legal consequences. This includes Inheritance matters and eligibility for other rights and entitlements.
The measurement of consanguinity generally considers the number of generations or steps that separate individuals from their common ancestor.
For example, parents and children exhibit a consanguinity of one generation, grandparents and grandchildren display a consanguinity of two generations, and first cousins share a consanguinity of three generations.
Consanguinity is relevant when determining the order of inheritance among a deceased person's relatives. If a person passes without having a valid Last Will and Testament, then the Laws of Intestacy will likely prioritize close blood relatives over more distant ones.
The exact rules of Consanguinity can vary based on state law, but common hierarchical prioriites include:
Spouse or Partner: In many jurisdictions, the surviving spouse or registered domestic partner often has a significant claim to an Estate. The degree of inheritance might vary based on whether there are surviving children, parents, or other relatives.
Children: If there is no surviving spouse or partner, the deceased's children typically inherit the estate. The distribution might vary depending on the number of children and whether they are all from the same relationship.
Parents: If there are no surviving children, the estate might pass to the parents of the deceased person. However, if there are surviving children, parents might not inherit or might inherit a reduced portion.
Siblings: In the absence of a surviving spouse, children, or parents, the estate might pass to the deceased's siblings.
Other Relatives: If there are no immediate relatives, more distant relatives like aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins might inherit the estate.
While consanguinity specifically highlights genetic ties between family members, the term Degree of Relationship stands in contrast by being more inclusive and considering both blood and non-blood familial relationships.
These relationships formed by marriage are known as Affinity relationships.