‘Next of kin’ is phrase that we’re all likely to have come across before. But there is often confusion about who are our own next of kin and what responsibilities they bear.

Although it is thought that people who hold close relationships will automatically become next of kin due to their familial status, it is not always the case. Furthermore, next of kin is not delegated any responsibilities Australian law. This means that decision making powers may not always be granted to the people who we nominate as our next of kin

Who is Next of Kin?

Whilst there is no legal meaning for the concept, there are instances when the list of who is your next kin is defined: as set out in the Mental Health Act. This act lists candidates in order, ranging from husband/wife to nephew or niece.

For the majority of instances, there will be no need to follow this list as the next of kin will simply be the person who you would would like to be contacted first in the case of an emergency.

When do I Need to Delegate a Next of Kin?

Your employer may ask you for the details of your next of kin so that in the event of an accident at work, your employer will know who to contact.

The concept basically refers to your closest relative, or somebody that you would want to contact in the case of an emergency.

Here is a complete list of the potential next of kin:

  • Children (normally starting with eldest legal offspring)
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandchildren
  • Grandparents
  • Nieces/Nephews
  • Aunts/Uncles
  • Great Grandchildren
  • Great Grandparents
  • Great Nieces/Great Nephews

Next-of-Kin Card

If you wish to ensure that you are equipped with sufficient identification when you find yourself in the hospital, a next-of-kin card is perfect. This card holds the details of the people who should be contacted in emergency.

Word to the wise, if you are concerned about who may be contacted in an emergency, you should contact your GP to see who has been delegated as your next of kin.

If you need help selecting or identifying your next of kin, or for any other legal issues, LawPath can source you fixed-price quote to speak with an expert lawyer.

Dominic Woolrych

Dominic is the CEO of LawPath, dedicating his days to making legal easier, faster and more accessible to businesses. Dominic is a recognised thought-leader in Australian legal disruption, and was recognised as a winner of the 2015 Australian Legal Innovation Index.