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Next of Kin

There is no formal legal recognition or legal rights of 'next of kin'. Certain Acts have given a restricted definition such as the Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1983 (SA) [s 5], which gives a priority as to who makes decisions concerning the donation of organs and tissue, see organ donation. Section 9 of the Burial and Cremation Act 2013 (SA) allows a parent or child of a deceased person to object to cremation, except where the deceased directed he or she be cremated by will or other signed and witnessed document (but a spouse or partner, unless they are also the personal representative - executor of the estate - of the deceased person cannot object).

'Next of kin' are not legally required to provide personal particulars of the deceased relative, but it is helpful if they provide as much detailed information as the funeral director requires. A funeral director can leave the personal particulars with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the purposes of registering the death [Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 (SA) s 38(1)].

Where the deceased has left a will which appoints an executor, it is the executor's responsibility to dispose of the body according to directions in the will, see duties of executors.

Where the deceased has died intestate (i.e. without a valid will) courts have generally taken the position that a person eligible to apply for a grant of letters of administration has the right to attend to the burial arrangements. However, this right is not absolute. Sometimes there may be more than one person who is eligible under the laws of intestacy to make these arrangements. In a dispute over arrangements about place of burial, the courts will look at balancing common law principles and practical considerations, as well as giving consideration to cultural, spiritual and religious factors. Disputes about cremation of a person who died intestate are governed by the Burial and Cremation Act 2013 (see above).

Next of Kin  :  Last Revised: Tue Mar 2nd 2021
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.