Next of Kin
The term next of kin refers to a deceased person's closest living relative(s), either by blood or by law.
Typically they are the deceased's Surviving Family, such as their spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents or grandchildren. In some cases, the term may also refer to a close friend or a legal representative designated by the deceased.
Next of kin is often used in medical and legal contexts, where the person's family or designated representative may need to make decisions about their care or make arrangements after their death.
For example, if a person is unable to make decisions about their medical care, and does not have an Advance Directive then their next of kin may be legally allowed to make decisions on their behalf.
Similarly, if a person dies without a Will or Trust, then their next of kin may be legally responsible for Settling their Estate during Probate, and also have the legal right to Inherit the deceased's Assets.
Inheritance laws vary by state, but generally, the deceased's closest living relatives, starting with their spouse and children, are considered next of kin and are entitled to inherit their assets.
If the deceased person had no surviving spouse, children, or parents, then their siblings or more distant relatives may be considered their next of kin and inherit their assets.