Who is the next-of-kin?

When someone is in hospital they can name anyone they choose to the hospital as the person to be contacted in an emergency even if they have blood relatives or relatives by marriage. This will also be the person the hospital speaks with after the death to explain whether a certificate can be issued or why the death has been referred to the coroner.

However, after a death the coroner has to follow the legal definition of who is the closest relative of the deceased person.

If you are someone who was named to the hospital as next-of-kin but you are aware of formally related family members, please give their details to the coroner. If you know there are relatives but you do not have any contact details for them, please give what information you have to the coroner’s office and the coroner’s officer will attempt to trace the family. Explain your relationship to the deceased person.

If the formally related family do not want to have any involvement after the death, you can inform the coroner’s officer whether or not you want to make funeral arrangements and if there is to be an inquest you can ask to be included as a ‘properly interested person’. Do mention to the coroner’s officer if you believe you are named as an executor of the Will.