Next of Kin in Nigeria – the concept of Next of Kin is one that has been widely misunderstood by many and in this finance dropbox, we wish to set the record straight.

Many take the next of kin in Nigeria to be the same as the beneficiary of an estate should the owner dies while others tag the next of kin as one that inherits everything.

Don’t bother because before this class ends you will be a great teacher on issues of next of kin.

Next of Kin in Nigeria

The major outlines for this course are:

  1. Next of Kin meaning (what does Next of Kin mean legally?)
  2. Is Next of Kin Same as the Beneficiary?
  3. Does Next of Kin inherit everything?
  4. Who is legally classed as a Next of Kin? / Who is the Next of Kin when someone dies?
  5. How is the Next of Kin Determined?

Next of kin meaning (What does Next of Kin mean legally?)

Next of Kin in Nigeria and any other part of the world is the person to contact should one suffers death misfortune.

The next of kin is legally recognized by law as the knowledge of the thoughts and wishes of the deceased which is also admissible as the deceased person’s will.

His testament backed by his sworn affidavit is all that is needed for these thoughts and wishes of the deceased to finally become his will.

Also speaking from legal point of view, he is NOT backed by the law inherit the estate of a deceased person except under two conditions which will be discussed at the right time.

Let’s drive down the page together, the next thing you will discover on next of kin will surprise you.

Is Next of Kin Same as the Beneficiary?

The realities of the next of kin becoming same as the beneficiary have a dual answer.

Primarily the next of kin is not the same as the beneficiary. For instance, if a testator chose Donald to be his or her next of kin in one or all his estates before his demise; Donald is not empowered by that choice to inherit the testator’s estate.

There are conditions that can make the next of kin to be the same thing as the beneficiary.

This means that the next of kin can inherit, benefit or be entitled to the estate of a deceased person if they have the basic instruments of the law behind them which includes:

  1. If the next of kin is quoted in the will as the beneficiary where the deceased died testate.
  2. If the deceased does not have any known relative, the next of kin can be empowered by the grant of letter of administration through appropriate probate registry/court to take over the estate.
  3. Finally if the next of kin can obtain an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, the estate will be transferred to his benefit.

With these 3 conditions, the next of kin can become the same as the beneficiary.

Does Next of Kin inherit everything?

We have established the condition for a next of kin to be a beneficiary. Once he or she is a beneficiary, he or she can then inherit too.

The NoK can inherit everything and he can inherit only a percentage. This solely depends on the number of beneficiaries.

If the NOK happens to be the only beneficiary, he will get everything but if there are other beneficiaries with him, the estate will be shared amongst them.

Who is legally classed as a Next of Kin? / Who is the Next of Kin when someone dies?

The issue of who is legally classed as a next of kin or who is the next of kin when someone dies is solely a function of who the testator or nominee chooses from the beginning.

If he or she chooses Donald and formalizes it in writing, it stands.

In most cases next of kin are indicated on forms and papers like account opening forms, institutional forms, affidavits, formal personal introductions and many more.

Mistakes people make on NOK is to choose one without:

  1. Informing the person
  2. Keeping records of the one chosen for a particular purpose and on a particular estate. This confuses one NOK with another.

The testator or the nominee can pick from the followings:

  1. Testator’s / nominee’s living Spouse (wife/husband)
  2. Testator’s / nominee’s  Children (Daughters/Sons)
  3. The Testator’s / nominee’s  Brothers
  4. The Testator’s / nominee’s sisters
  5. The Testator’s / nominee’s Friends

The Testator’s / nominee can choose different persons to serve as their next of kin on different portfolios.

For instance, the Testator’s / nominee can keep Donald, his brother, as my next of kin in Bank X; keep Ferdinand, his son, as his next of kin in his business relationship with my business partners and Cynthia, his wife, in all of his other dealings.

In addition; please note that where there is a Letters of Administration or other probate documents on the account where usually person(s) other than the next of kin are appointed to administer the estate of the deceased customer or be the beneficiaries, the LA or other probate documents shall prevail.

How is the Next of Kin Determined?

The Testator / nominee determine his or her next of kin. The Testator’s / nominee simply choose.

The choice can be based on love, vengeance, revenge, piety and family legacy.

The services of a lawyer are not mandatory but may be necessary.

 Next of Kin in benefits in Nigerian banks

Experience with Polaris bank limited reveals that the next of kin of a deceased customer whose account balance is less than N200,000.00 get paid across the counter without Letters of Administration.

This is because Polaris bank believes that this amount it too small for the family of the deceased upkeep and as such they should take it without spending a dime from it on protocols.

Visit any Polaris Bank Limited on this and get served immediately.

Next of Kin in Nigeria
The real hand that grabs the estate


Next of Kin in Nigeria serves a great deal and only trusted once must be appointed. The question you must answer are do you have one and who is he or she?

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