Counsel Corner: Uncle as mother’s next-of-kin

on   /   in Law & Human Rights 12:00 am   /   Comments

Dear Sir,

I have read some useful pieces of advice you have given to some people in your column ‘Counsel Corner’. I would be grateful if you can give your legal opinion on the following matter.

I am 40-year-old male, and I was born out of wedlock.  My mother was a Public Servant before her demise late 2005.  I was about 33 years old at the time of her death.  My relationship with her was not very good though I stayed with her up to her last minute on earth. During that period I was jobless and dependent on her.

It was after her passage that I discovered she had named my uncle (her younger brother) her Next of Kin. Consequently, her employers would not have any dealings with me .All efforts made to retrieve her entitlements from my uncle have proved difficult even though he gives me some money whenever I am in need.

What are my chances if I should engage the law enforcement agencies like the EFCC or go to court to challenge my uncle’s rights as the next-of-Kin to my mother?  Second, will the time it has taken have any effect on my action in a court of law?

God bless you.

James

The issue of the next of kin is as personal as it is confidential. Suffice to say that the choice of who is made one’s next-of-kin is absolutely the discretion of the person who is involved. Normally, but not necessarily legal, a next-of-kin can be your spouse in the case of a married person.

However, there are those who would rather opt for their siblings for reasons best known to them. Some may prefer to make one of their children, perhaps , the eldest. What this means is that a next-of-kin is either a spouse or blood relation. There is however no law that says that a mother must make his child her next-of-kin.

It is good you admitted that you did not have the best of relationship with your mother while she was alive. Also, you admitted that you depended on her for your sustainance. These and other reasons might have informed her choice of her brother instead of you as her next-of-kin.

She probably had more confidence in the prudency of her brother as far as her money and other belongings are concerned. Her employers cannot have anything to do with you for obvious reason, they would only deal with your uncle whom your mother preferred.

The issue of next-of-kin is quite different from a WILL that can be contested in a law court. You cannot also involve any law enforcement agent such as EFCC which you are contemplating. Your uncle has not committed any financial crime by taking rightful possession of your mother’s belongings.

He is only acting according to the dictate of his late sister. Also, the issue of time it has taken does not arise because if you go to court there is no cause of action as such a suit will amount to wasting or the court’s time.

Abandoned by husband of fifteen years

Dear lawyer,

I was just going through Vanguard daily and saw your column which I cherish. I work in a tea
…….0
…….ching hospital in one of the south-east states. I got married in 1997 without any issue. My husband maltreated me to the extent that I saw a ticket which he bought for his girlfriend and himself to travel.  Because of that, he sent me out of our matrimonial room, told me to be feeding myself and finally drove me out of the house in March this year.

This is a man I met as a mere apprentice in 1989 and I used to pay his rent then. My question is this, what is your legal advice on this case? Thanks for your and God bless.

Maureen.

My pieces of advice would be given subsequently due to space constraint.

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