Next of Kin vs. Executor – What Do They Mean and What Are The Responsibilities?

what is an executor

The terms Executor and Next of kin are commonly used when it comes to real estate. Generally, these people are responsible for helping the deceased complete their will including assets and funeral arrangements.

A Next Of Kin

who can be next of kin

Next of kin is the person who has the right to make decisions on real estate matters on behalf of the deceased when someone passes away leaving no will. Next of kin is identified by the Federal & State law ONLY. In most cases, it runs from the closest relatives to nephews, nieces, and further lines as long as the next of kin and the deceased share the same bloodline.

Read More: What Is Next of Kin and The Rights Of Next Of Kin

An Executor

An executor is appointed by the deceased to act as their representative after the death. This person can be anyone and is not necessarily a relative of the deceased as long as the name is clearly stated in the will.

next of kin and executor differences

The executor plays the role of an administrative including dealing with funeral arrangements, paying off any debt, fulfill tax liabilities before distributing the balance among entitled parties in accordance with the will.

executor vs next of kin

It is advisable to assign at least two executors and there can be up to four names stated in the will. When there is more than one executor, the responsibility is shared and the power of making decisions falls equally. In some cases, a solicitor or a financial institution can be chosen as the legal executor.

Additionally, anyone chosen in the will has the right to decline the appointment unless the appointment has been accepted prior to the death. They can refuse their responsibility in a written document to the probate registry. Otherwise, they are obligated to act except for a serious reason such as illness.

executor and next of kin responsibility


Determining the Next of Kin and Executors are important as it is a legal matter which can determine inheritance rights. If you are in the situation, we hope that this post can provide the general concept of the differences between an executor and a next of kin. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended that you should take advice from a trusted lawyer if needed.

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