next of kin

next of kin
In the law of descent and distribution, this term denotes the persons nearest of kindred to the decedent, that is, those who are most nearly related by blood; but it is sometimes construed to mean only those who are entitled to take under the statute of distributions (i.e. statutory distributees).
See e.g. N.Y. Estates, Powers & Trusts No. 2-1.1.
The term "next of kin" is used with two meanings;
(1) nearest blood relations according to law of consanguinity and
(2) those entitled to take under statutory distribution of intestate's estates, and term is not necessarily confined to relatives by blood, but may include a relationship existing by reason of marriage, and may well embrace persons, who in natural sense of word, and in contemplation of Roman law, bear no relation of kinship at all. In re Kyle's Autopsy, Okl., 309 P.2d 1070, 1073.
Within wrongful death statutes, means those who inherit from decedent under law of descents and distributions. Ellis v. Sill, 190 Kan. 300, 374 P.2d 213, 215

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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