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Senior next of kin

The senior next of kin is our main point of contact throughout the coroner's investigation.

The senior next of kin is usually the person’s spouse or domestic partner. If not available, then the senior next of kin will be (in order):

  • an adult son or daughter
  • a parent
  • an adult sibling
  • a person named in the will as an executor
  • a person who, immediately before the death, was a personal representative of the deceased
  • a person determined by the coroner to be taken as the senior next of kin because of the closeness of the person's relationship with the deceased person immediately before his or her death.

If you would like to be senior next of kin

Please let us know if you disagree with who has been appointed as senior next of kin. 

The coroner will make a decision if there is more than one applicant.

You may appoint a lawyer or other representative to act for you

Your representative can communicate with the court on your behalf.

Please keep other family members up to date

Unfortunately, we cannot speak about an open investigation to anyone other than the senior next of kin (or their representative) and family members who become interested parties. This can be distressing to other members of the family.

We may ask you to identify the person

Even if not in doubt, we need to confirm the identity of the person who has died.

We will let you know how that may be done, be it:

  • asking you, another family member, or someone that is close to the person to visually identify them
  • using fingerprinting, dental records, DNA comparison or other medical and scientific methods of identification.

Locating medical information

We may ask you for information to help us obtain your loved one’s medical records. For example, who their GP is, or about any recent hospital admissions.

A pathologist will examine the person who has died once they come into our care. This preliminary examination is minimally invasive.

We will update you through the investigation

We will advise you, and any interested parties, of:

  • any medical procedures and medical reports provided to the coroner
  • investigative updates, and – while only held for a small percentage of investigations – whether an inquest will be held
  • the coroner’s findings, and let you know if they will be published.

You will be given the name and contact details for the registry team member assigned to the investigation. Please contact them if you have any questions or want to talk with our Family Liaison Officers.

Last updated on 13 Dec 2018