If I’m unmarried who is my next of kin?
When you lose mental capacity, decision-making on your behalf will usually fall to your next of kin.
In England and Wales, your next of kin is automatically assigned to either your spouse or civil partner, and then your blood relatives in order of closeness e.g. parents, children, siblings and so on.
Unmarried partners aren’t considered next of kin apart from a few scenarios. For example, the NHS may require you to write down your next of kin if you’re admitted to a hospital and you can submit your partner’s details.
Next of kin doesn’t necessarily give people the legal right to do things on your behalf. In order to do this, you would need to set up a power of attorney.
What is the role of a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is the legal appointment of someone who can make decisions on your behalf.
Your power of attorney can make decisions on your:
You might need your power of attorney to make all decisions for you due to developing dementia. Or, you may physically depend on another person to carry out tasks for you such as handling money.
What if someone no longer has the capacity to appoint a power of attorney?
You can apply to the court of protection for deputyship which, if granted, will allow you to manage your partner’s affairs.