by Odunjo Olusanya Kehinde
A Next of Kin according to Advanced leaner’s Dictionary is "One’s closest living relation or relations."

At the point of entry into any organization, opening of bank account (savings, current or fixed deposit), a Retirement Saving Account (RSA) with any Pension Fund Administration (PFA) or filling any form for any transactions anywhere in the world a next of kin details will be required but most people do not know the importance of this requirement so they give any name and details just to get such transactions done.

Some people put the name of their elder brother/sister, younger brother brother/sister, friends, father, mother uncle etc even when they have spouses and children not knowing that in the case of death or eventuality it is the next of kin that is recognized, most especially when there is/are any benefits for the deceased.

Therefore, the question of the writer is that WHO IS YOUR NEXT OF KIN? 
Is it your spouse, children, friend or any of your other relatives? Know that your benefits or entitlements will be given to whoever you name as your next of kin; therefore ensure you have the right person registered and update as your next of kin whichever the case may be.

As an employee in an Organization and you have used any of your relations as your next of kin at the point of entry because you were not married then it is important and needful to update this information when you get married or start having children. It is important to do the needful after reading this article.

The importance of using your spouse and/or any of your children as your next of kin is that they can use whatever they get to take care of your immediate family in case of eventuality. May we live to eat the fruit of our labour. Amen.

Let us look at this case study:
Mr. Japoline (not real name) gained employment in an organization, during the formalization of his employment he filled a next of kin form where he registered his brother as his next of kin because he was not married.

While working for the organization he got married and had two children (a boy and a girl). After working with the organization for over ten years, he traveled with his wife and children while he was on his annual leave and on their way back from the journey they were involved in a ghastly motor accident where Mr. Japoline lost his life, his wife had a broken leg while the children only had minor bruises. After some weeks, his wife was discharged from the hospital and later Mr. Japoline was buried.

Mrs. Japoline and the two children approached the Company Mr. Japoline was working for before his death for his benefits/entitlements, the Human Resources Manager of the organization brought out his file then the following happened:
The Human Resources Manager asked Mrs. Japoline, who is Mr. Kasalo? (not real name) and she responded: ‘oh he is my husband’s elder brother. He further asked how close you are to him, and she answered that Uncle Kasalo is the black sheep in my husband family and no one will want to have anything doing with him. The Human Resources Manager asked again why and she disclosed that he is into drugs. The HR manager paused and then continued, ‘Madam, the total entitlement of your husband with our Company is N3.5M. However, from what I have in his file it is only Mr. Kasalo that can collect this money because he is the one your late husband used as his next of kin.
In the story above, there is little or nothing the Organization can do to give the money to Mrs. Japoline and children. However, note that at the point of filling the form Late Mr. Japoline was not married but has the right to change his next of kin after he got married and had children.

Consequently, I am not saying the only person anyone should use as his/her next of kin is your spouse and or children. But as a right thinking person who will you use as your next of kin if you have a responsible and supporting spouse and even children?

May I suggest or advice everyone reading this article to do the needful as soon as possible before the unexpected happens.

- Odunjo Olusanya Kehinde