Users' questions

Does next of kin need power of attorney?

Does next of kin need power of attorney?

No. The term next of kin is in common use but a next of kin has no legal powers, rights or responsibilities. In particular, they cannot give consent for providing or withholding any treatment or care.

Can a next of kin make funeral arrangements?

No. Even if you put your wishes in a will or pre-pay your funeral, your next-of-kin can override your wishes and decide the arrangements and disposition. The reasoning behind this law is that funerals are primarily for the benefit of the living, and so they should be allowed to decide what type of arrangements are made.

Who is responsible for a funeral if there is no will?

If there is no will or appointed executor, the next of kin is responsible for the body. The police may be asked to find the next of kin and tell them about the death. If the next of kin doesn’t want to be involved, the funeral may be arranged through the government contractor (see Destitute funerals in the Funeral costs chapter).

Who is the next of kin in a living will?

In the US, if a DPOAH exists, the person named in that document is the person who has the legal right to make funeral decisions – regardless of any surviving next of kin. The DPOAH is often named as part of a Living Will or Advanced Healthcare Directive.

What to do if someone dies at home and has no next of kin?

If a person died at home, and has no next of kin or friends to arrange or pay for the funeral, had no money or other assets, and the coroner is not involved, the police will complete a Burial/Cremation of a Deceased Destitute Person form P372, which is sent to the Director of Public Health Unit (PHU) of the relevant Health Service.

No. Even if you put your wishes in a will or pre-pay your funeral, your next-of-kin can override your wishes and decide the arrangements and disposition. The reasoning behind this law is that funerals are primarily for the benefit of the living, and so they should be allowed to decide what type of arrangements are made.

In the US, if a DPOAH exists, the person named in that document is the person who has the legal right to make funeral decisions – regardless of any surviving next of kin. The DPOAH is often named as part of a Living Will or Advanced Healthcare Directive.

How can I contact my next of kin?

There must be a good-faith attempt to contact the legal next-of-kin at his or her last address, phone number, or email address before proceeding. It should be noted that the next-of-kin has the power, but not the obligation to make funeral and disposition arrangements.

Who has the legal authority to make funeral arrangements?

According to VA Law, this designation takes priority over any other next-of-kin who typically have a legal right to make the arrangements. By assigning one person to be in charge of funeral arrangements, you can avoid many potential conflicts in cases where family members would not be able to easily agree on the service plan.