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Nimi Akinkugbe: Fathers, Who Is Your Next of Kin?



Fathers, who is your next of kin?

Father’s Day is becoming increasingly popular as the day of the year dedicated to honour fathers. Whilst it largely serves commercial purposes as retailers encourage us all to buy gifts, it also presents an opportunity to reflect on fatherhood and some important issues that go hand in hand with this revered role.

In Western cultures, the choice of the spouse as next of kin is the most obvious one. For example, the mother of his children is generally the person in whom a man places the most trust. In Nigeria, however, it is very common for a man to choose his brother as next of kin. In the event of the husband’s death, making the wife your next of kin will save her and the children a lot of hardship given the traditional extended family system where other family members can often forcefully claim their brother’s property. There are numerous examples of widows having to cope with not only the loss of their spouse but also of all their personal possessions and property.

There are several factors that people consider in choosing their next of kin. Here are some revealing responses to the question “Who is your Next of Kin?”

Gbenga Martins: a businessman
I chose my wife as my next of kin because she should be the first person to know whatever happens to me. The meaning of next of kin is someone that can be reached quickly in case of any emergencies or issues, and that person to me is my wife. And she is the closest person to me.

Mr Iyamabo: a teacher
I have already put my father – he is very wise and can only do what is right for me. He will make sure my wife and children do not suffer.

Mr Thomas: a banker
My first son is my next of kin because he is the heir. If I choose my daughters, they will get married one day and their husbands could take over all that they have, and family property will then end up in a strange family. My son is a man, he controls the home and no woman would dare take over what is rightfully his. I can never choose my wife; that’s how she will go and marry again, and the man will have all my property to benefit his own children and neglect mine.

Chike: a trader
I will put my brother. I know him well – we grew up together. I wouldn’t make my wife my next of kin, though I love her so much. If I put one of her children, she will influence them. Women can change. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Mr Johnson: a taxi driver
Ah! I will put my first son. I expect him to take care of all the family if I am not there. I can never put my wife – that’s how she will go and marry, and then some other man will be enjoying all my sweat and blood. Just the thought that she might be enjoying my money with another man after my death puts me off. Ah, no-oh! Never!

The word kin in the traditional sense means family, which apart from a spouse and children goes on to include the extended family, parents, siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, and so on. The term “next-of-kin” is rather ambiguous and is usually used to describe a person’s closest living blood relative. In its broadest sense it indicates the person who should be notified in case of any eventualities of life such as an accident, emergency, or death. It also has implications as to who would be legally entitled to a decedents property where there is no will.

At some time or the other, you have probably had to fill out a form or some other documentation where you had to clearly state your next of kin. Many people don’t take this designation that seriously and sometimes even forget whom they designated as time goes by. This is an important issue particularly where the documentation you are completing relates to money matters such as investments in stocks, real estate, banking and insurance transactions, and so on.

If you were to die intestate, that is, without leaving a will, your property won’t simply pass to your spouse as you might think; strict rules rank your next of kin, and your property will be distributed according to laws of intestacy, which may vary from state to state.

If there is no will or other credible document in place, this is likely to be the order: If you are married, it would be your spouse. If you are a single parent or are widowed, your children will be your next of kin. If you are unmarried and without children, your parents will be legal heirs to your estate; if your parents are deceased your property will be distributed to siblings and other close blood relatives.

Bear in mind that the status of next of kin does not in any way imply that those designated stand to inherit any of the individual’s estate in the event of their death. It is only by having a valid will in place that you can protect your immediate family, including your wife and children, and ensure that your investments and property do not go into the wrong hands after your death. Fathers, do consider your estate and put your affairs in order.

Happy Fathers Day!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Goldenkb

Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private banking and wealth management. She is passionate about encouraging financial independence and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance and wealth management issues. She is married with 3 children.Find out more via

Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private wealth management. She seeks to empower people regarding their finances and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance.


  1. wealthier single mothers and women exist .

    June 15, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    another one reminding us that fathers are ATM machines.Did you also ask the same question to single mothers and single women (there are very many wealthy sisters around) ,on Mothers day aswell ?????

    • Nigerwifediary.blogspot

      June 16, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Hmmmm…there are still more working men than women. My case in point is Account Lock, Phone Lock story on this blog

  2. LotusFlower

    June 15, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    “I will put my son”, “I will put my brother!” What if you are the only son in your family, or you have only daughters? I wonder who these men will leave their property to…
    I get the sense that they would rather leave it to their male cousins than their own daughters or wives.

  3. jojo

    June 15, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I don’t celebrate hallmark made holidays never have never will. I celebrate the special people in my life everyday.

    • stupidityslayer

      June 16, 2014 at 5:04 am


  4. A.K

    June 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    [email protected] Mr. Johnson, the man can not shout!!! I had a good laugh reading through their views

  5. O~Intuition!

    June 15, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Very Good Read!

  6. Esquiress

    June 15, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    I might be wrong but my understanding of next of kin is the person to contact in cases of emergency. As I am unwed and living with my immediate family, I put down my dad’s name and number as I know he is more likely to answer his phone and listen to his voice message than my mum.
    If I were married it would be my husbands’s name i.e. The person I want contacted first should anything happen to me.
    This does not (again, in my understanding) mean the person who inherits anything I might leave behind. The statements above of the individuals questioned seem very ignorant to me.

    • Fabulicious

      June 15, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      What you are referring to as next of kin is ICE(in case of emergency)numbers which is your dad.In this context the next of kin being referred to is in terms of determining inheritance rights.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 16, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Employers ask the question for a number of reasons. With mine, I’ve had to fill in next-of-kin details both for contacting in case of any emergence and also for passing across the financial benefits which would ordinarily accrue to me, if God took me from this earth.

      I think that 2nd reason is the one most Nigerian men keep in view when filling out those details.

  7. lola

    June 15, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    My dad put me as his next of kin. When he died everyone tot it was my younger brother.even I tot so too but alas ,my dad put me his first daughter and child.i had lost my mum at an earlier age and my dad never remarrief.may both their souls rest in perfect peace.amen

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Amen. Your late father was a rare, progressive-minded Nigerian man.

    • ada1

      June 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      very progressive. God rest his soul.

    • Magz

      June 16, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      May God rest his soul. My dad did similar thing… he used my mum, my elder sister and myself as his next-of-kins for different, as we do not have any male child in the family, he did not even bother going into his extended family. And thank God for the wisdom he used, or else they would have shown us pepper when he died. Well, he also prayed (placed a curse) on whomever would want to disturb us on his properties. May your soul rest in peace Daddy…

  8. Speechless

    June 15, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Did you interview a caveman or banker? May the likes of this ‘banker’ and his kind never cross paths with my sister and my other female relatives. Amen.

  9. ???

    June 15, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    When I tell women not to carry man matter on top of their heads too much, they will be doing some how. These men would not last 2 months after their wives are dead yet they scorn at a woman moving on in the even they pass on. If she toiled with you, when. You die the property becomes hers…it is that simple.

    • stupidityslayer

      June 16, 2014 at 5:08 am

      Thank you o! These are the same men that want a woman to love them for who they are and not what they have. After she has done the hard work of building with the man, the basturd puts his brother as next of kin….chai! Naija women, make your own money, abeg!

    • Magz

      June 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      as in! I served in a bank and you needed to see men’s reactions when asked “oga are you not going to use your wife as your next-of-kin?” annoying people gbogbo sha….lol! With all this jargon, they will still be saying “if she loves me, she should be able to suffer with me”. So after the suffering, you will still use your brother as next-of-kin, Olorun maje!

  10. mia

    June 15, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    From my experience, If you marry especially from the East and you don’t make sure that properties and sticks are bought and registered in your name and the man’s name, my sister, you may likely regret it. Igbo men do not believe in making their wives their NOK, it’s no wonder the brothers come to the house and scan for the man’s valuables and properties even while he’s still sick.

    And for those who put their siblings because the woman can remarry, please, can you take care of your niece or nephew the way you will take care of your own son or daughter? No sane woman will want her children to suffer after the demise of her husband, hence the wisest choice for men with children. But women too, wise up, make sure you can stand on your feet financially should your husband die.

  11. CarliforniaBawlar

    June 15, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Ermm… BN o! Una be winch?? Quick story…Father of 6kids dies, his parents and siblings take over his house, rent 3 of 4 apartments out not caring how his family ( Yes!! Men, your wife and kids are your family and responsibility!!) fared…anyways sha, update I just heard today…. 25 years later they call the wife to come and not only renovate the old apartments but build on the remaining land!….egbami!Maami has suffered sha!! :/
    From first hand experience, my word to women is get an education, build a career, start a business…shoot! Learn how to sow!! Just get yours one way or the other.full stop.With the current precarious economic times, how much money are the yeye men even going to leave behind ehn??
    To the men….your wife and kids would survive , if you like make your primary school headmaster your beneficiary….better still give all your money to the leper colony down the street. I repeat,your wife and kids will survive. Don’t worry, your brother’s kids (seeing as they are the ones who would chop your money) would carry on your name and legacy.
    The backwards mindset displayed by most of the folks interviewed was last excusable in 1999!! All these men talking through their a-holes! Based off of what statistics are they presuming that women are so fickle to waste their money and abandon the kids?? Just take a look at the number widowed mothers raising their kids everyday around you.
    The least a man can do is to have the law on their wife’s side, cos next of kin or not, my mum still got strong-armed out of the little my dad left (and she was too devastated to be bothered) God bless my dad’s heart though.

    • Aunty AK

      June 16, 2014 at 12:31 am


      This story is very sad.
      What men don’t realize is that you can trust people with money. I don’t care if its your brother or your father.
      They will look after themselves before they remember your family.
      If you really want your family to be looked after, your best bet it to leave everything to your wife.
      She is the only person that will have your kids best interest at heart 99% of the time.

    • Radiant

      June 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Lol @ To the men….your wife and kids would survive , if you like make your primary school headmaster your beneficiary….better still give all your money to the leper colony down the street. I repeat,your wife and kids will survive.

      Men forget they are not God who happens to be the father to the fatherless and husband to the widow.

      Folks should just take ownership of their lives with wisdom and look to no human as their source. It will all work out. 🙂

    • ada1

      June 16, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      i totally feel u. my friend’s dad died when she was very little and her mum toiled to raise all 4 of them. they used to pluck mushrooms in d bush cuz there was no money for meat. last 2 yrs, when one of the girls was getting married, come and see nonsense list the father’s ppl wanted the husband to pay. chai! diarris God oo!

  12. smh

    June 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    reading all the responses by these Nigerian men just made me sad.
    sorry to say, but the average Nigerian man is stupid and shallow
    you want to put your father, your brothers or your little 10yr old son as NOK because your wife will marry another man?
    i cannot even shout.
    lemme just pray that God doesn’t lead any of these horrible archaic men my way

    • SPG

      June 18, 2014 at 1:06 am

      Stop righ there………….. ever asked yourself too who benefits mor in the man s estate if he dies? the wife s family or his own family let alone the kids?

  13. Nuna

    June 16, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Most times I try to still have hope in Nigerian men. Responses like these prove how stupid some men are.
    So if you die and you have willed everything to your brother, how is your wife going to take care of the kids you left behind? Shameless a-holes.
    Women, seriously, this goes on to show how INDEPENDENT you need to be! When you are minding your business, earning a healthy sum and investing wisely, all these nonsense insults will just end. Its because men in this country know women are too dependent on them dat the have the guts to spew such rubbish.
    Get a job, invest wisely. The silly men can shove their non existent ‘wealth’ down their asses. Kmt!!

  14. mrs chidukane

    June 16, 2014 at 9:12 am

    I was really pained reading the interviews. Nigerian men will never want their wives to be happy. Suffer her when you’re alive and keep on suffering her when you die. Meanwhile they’re usually the ones to remarry and turn blind eyes as their new wives torture their kids. That’s how a man built a house and gave the papers to his brother so his wife will not see it and kill him. So why marry someone you’re afraid will kill you? Mtcheew

    • QueenOfAwks

      June 19, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      gbam u have said it all. why marry someone you are afraid of.
      what also shocks me is how nigerian men want their wives to be sad and bitter when they die. im a woman and if i do die after marriage and kids i would pray my husband finds a good woman who would be his helpmate and who would raise my children in my absence. because im dead doesnt mean the world should end. because im dead doesnt mean the people i have left behind should remain unhappy for the rest of their lives.these comments just show how selfish people are. instead of u to think of ways to make her live in peace and some sort of joy or happiness after your demise u are more concerned on how to make sure she suffers and remains in sorrow. because shes unhappy doesnt mean she’ll always remember you

  15. tbaby

    June 16, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Great article. I wonder who my father put seeing as he’s a polygamist…. if I ask he’ll probably ask if I want him dead. Anyway I used to put my brother (when I was single) now I put my husband. Though I think the best thing is to write a will if you have valuable investments, then you can share among family if need be.

  16. cleo

    June 16, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Its sometimes hurt when he says his NOK is my little 2 year old. its all good. I believe in working hard and making a life for my self in as much as i am married. I don’t bother to ask who is next of kin” before he go think say i wan kill am” don’t get me wrong i love my hubby like crazy but i know the heart of man, am prepared for the worst.

  17. Mariaah

    June 16, 2014 at 10:13 am

    To say I am disappointed at the views from the Men above is an understatement.

    Are you kidding me?? Your wife that toiled with you through thick and thin, had all your kids, dealt with your sme-smeeh you can’t make her next of kin?! Gbef!! Nigerian families that are mostly greedy and always plan to take over their deceased kin’s property this Men are actually saying they made them NOK?? Ok oo..

    As this next of kin thing goes, spouses should generally make each other next of kin! If you are not married a sibling or your parents can be.

  18. sum1special

    June 16, 2014 at 10:56 am

    In my opinion, a man’s next of kin should be his spouse (wife) c’mon. if you dont trust your wife, then why did you marry her? I think its rather unfair that men dont trust their wives enough to give her all they have when they are no more. Who told men that their sons wont misbehave too and squander all their father’s wealth on trivialities and women. As a single lady, my brother i live with is my next of kin because i am directly under his authority and live with him presently as my parents are not around. The moment i get married , it changes to my husband and he better do same.

  19. Johnspeaksnotdumb

    June 16, 2014 at 11:06 am

    my mum is my next of kin. but i will definitely change it when i get married

  20. Olivia Ruth

    June 16, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I am proud of BN on this one!
    The point is, if you are the main bread winner of your family, write a WILL so that your wife (if she is not a co-bread winner) will not have the rug pulled from beneath her feet if anything happens to you.
    Some of these men on here be acting brand new as if they don’t know that in some cultures, some relatives will come and start “sharing” someone else’s property!
    So like Nimi said oh so subtly – all you brothers and sisters, write a WILL (especially when you have people that you are responsible for and depend on you e.g. your children!) period

  21. adelegirl

    June 16, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    God bless you Mr Gbenga Martins. It would appear that from the respondents he is the only “real man” interviewed. I mean, how dare you not put your wife as your next of kin especially when you’ve got children? Haba! Do they realise that they just exposed their stupidity by saying they don’t trust their wives to make the best decisions bla bla bla. So what does that make you who married someone you don’t trust? I mean, from when we got engaged and started finalising marriage plans, le boo had started filling me in as his next of kin. If he had any reservations as to whether or not I should be his next of kin, I would definitely not be marrying him in a couple of weeks. Marriage is not by force. You’re either in or you’re out. You can’t be one leg in one leg out by making daft selfish decisions.


    June 16, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    It’s amazing the way men really think,i had a colleague years ago who i stumbled on his personal details cos i was in finance,he used his brother as his next of kin so i asked him y not his wife and can u imagine what he said,she does not have kids for me yet ,they have only been married for 6 months,i abused him eh but he said he did not know it was wrong,there’s so much misconception about women this days so my take is women earn ur pay very well,my step dad died under mysterious circumstances,though he left a will but his only brother did maradona on one of the properties and guys we are even tired of waiting on u cos of money,we have soooooooooo moved on

  23. Inkotee

    June 16, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    It so sad dat at this present age and time some men still think lik dis, when I get married my wife wld be my next of kin and every tin I own wld be in our names for God sake that’s the mother of my kids who else shld have dat if not her with dat I knw my children future is secured unless I have kids with someone else which I don’t think I wanna make such mistake in my life to practice polygamy…so pls men marry ur best friend and remove such silly thoughts from ur heads..

  24. Idak

    June 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    The funny part is that those eager to use other family members apart from their wives are often the broke ones who have little to will out. Poverty is a mentality indeed!

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