At some point in this short life, whether at the bus park or the airport or at the bank, we’ve being asked to provide our next-of-kin details, right? In this part of the world, we’ve come to place a certain amount of unimaginable value on the person of next-of-kin, which really shouldn’t be.
A person’s next- of- kin is the closest living blood relative or relatives. That’s all it is. In Nigeria, it does not confer any title or inheritance rights on the person.
Simply put, the next-of-kin is the first person to be informed/contacted in case of any eventuality, or In case of emergency (ICE).
Here are a few reasons why your next-of- kin isn’t as important as you think:
1. Your next-of-kin does not owe you or any beneficiary a fiduciary duty. Simply put your next-of-kin is not entrusted by law to manage your estate or maximize the value of the property received, in case of any eventuality. For your next of kin to be empowered by law to manage your estate in Nigeria, you need to state the person as the executor of your will or the person will need to be appointed as an administrator by a court of law.
2. As your next-of-kin isn’t able to manage your lands and properties, he/she won’t be able to use your assets to pay off debts and could result shamefully despite possessing tangible wealth.
3. If eventually, your will is seen as invalid, your assets and estate would be distributed according to your lifestyle (and not to your next-of-kin) i.e. Family Law, Traditional Law, or Sharia Law would be applied as deemed fit. In such situation, your next-of-kin has no controlling rights whatsoever as the court determines how your estate is divided.