The next of kin is a deceased person’s closest living relative over the age of 18. A surviving spouse or domestic partner is the first to be defined as next of kin, followed by the deceased’s children. The next of kin has the legal ability to authorize cremation or burial.
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While cremation is widely accepted, there are some religions that prohibit the practice and prefer burial or traditional funeral services. Others see cremation services as acceptable but have specific guidelines to be followed.