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Kinship is a term that is used to describe a person’s connection to another person by blood or family relationship. Your vital records will often prove to be essential in providing proof of being someone’s next-of-kin. Knowing how and when to use them for this purpose can be highly important.
Read on below to find out more about kinship means. In our explainer guide you’ll find out how you can prove kinship between you and another person and why being able to provide evidence of being a relative’s next-of-kin might be crucial.
Kinship is used to define one person’s familial or social relationship to another person. In most cases, it is used to prove a connection between a deceased person and their descendents.
This is most often used to prove a family connection, such as being someone's son, daughter or other distant relative. This is not only done through genetic ties, it can also be defined by a legal connection to someone else. This means that the term next-of-kin can also apply to parties such as spouses or legally adopted children.
Kinship proceedings are sometimes necessary to concretely prove that someone is the relative of someone else. This might be the case if you are receiving an inheritance from a deceased distant relative’s estate.
If a situation arises where relatives of descendants die without leaving a will or other instructions on how their estate will be shared after their death, rules of kinship will normally decide who inherits the estate.
In most US states, this means the estate will revert to the direct offspring of the deceased. However, if the person has no direct offspring, the estate will pass up the family line to parents, brothers and sisters etc.
If you find yourself in this position, it will be necessary to definitely prove your family connection to the deceased individual.
If you have been nominally named as someone’s next of kin you will be required to prove that kinship to a probate court. To do so, you will need to provide one or more of the following essential documents:
If these prove insufficient, you may be specifically requested to provide other essential vital records and legal documents to definitively show you are who you claim to be. Be aware that even if your place of birth and records are from a different state to that of the deceased, the laws of the state that the person died or was resident in will be supreme.
Proving kinship is a serious matter and must be done with the right evidence. Therefore making sure you have the right vital records available to you is crucial. If you need to order a replacement birth certificate, our service can help you secure a certified copy now.