Opinions and Legal Insights

Who Are Next Of Kin In Kansas?

The term next of kin is often used synonymously with the term heirs at law under Kansas intestate succession law.  The next of kin heirs at law in Kansas are:

  1. Surviving spouse
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings

What Next of Kin Inherit Under Kansas Intestate Succession Law?

The next of kin heirs at law that inherit from a Kansas intestate estate depend on the other survivors of the decedent.

Survivors of Decedent

Share of Intestate Estate

Surviving spouse only (no children nor issue of a previously deceased child)

–          Surviving spouse inherits entire estate

Spouse and children

–          Spouse inherits ½ of estate

–          Children inherit remainder of estate

Children only

–          Children inherit estate in equal shares (issue of previously deceased child inherit share their parent would have taken)

Parents only, no spouse, children, or issue

–          Parents share estate equally, or surviving parent inherits the entire estate

Siblings only, no spouse, children or issue, or parents

–          Siblings (heirs of parents) shall share the estate the same as if the estate would have passed had parents owned it in equal shares and died intestate; if either of parents left no such heirs, then passes to living heirs of other parent

These laws can be found in KS Stat § 59-504, § 59-506, § 59-507, and § 59-508.

What Assets Do Next Of Kin Intestate Heirs Inherit In Kansas?

Next of kin intestate heirs only inherit probate assets, i.e., assets that are governed by the Kansas laws of intestate succession.

Non-probate assets are not governed by Kansas’ intestate succession laws, and will pass to the designated beneficiaries and recipients.  Non-probate assets typically include assets such as life insurance policies, pay-on-death accounts, and assets held in a revocable trust.  See the Probate and Non-Probate Assets Chart.

Kansas Survivorship Period Of 120-Hours

In order for a next of kin heir at law to inherit under Kansas intestate succession law, the person must survive the decedent by 120 hours (five days).  If a next of kin heir does not survive the decedent by 120 hours, they are treated as having predeceased the decedentKansas Statute § 58-709 states:

Except as provided in K.S.A. 58-713, if the title to property, the devolution of property, the right to elect an interest in property, or the right to exempt property, homestead or family allowance depends upon an individual’s survivorship of the death of another individual, an individual who is not established by clear and convincing evidence to have survived the other individual by 120 hours is deemed to have predeceased the other individual. This section does not apply if its application would result in a taking of intestate estate by the state.

Will the State of Kansas Inherit A Decedent’s Property?

It is incredibly rare for a decedent’s property to “escheat” to the state of Kansas rather than go to a decedent’s next of kin, because the laws of intestate succession are designed so that even the most remote relatives will inherit before the state of Kansas.

Kansas law limits descent for purposes of passing intestate property of a decedent up to the sixth degree of relation.  Pursuant to KS Statute § 59-509, in computing degrees of relationship by blood for the purpose of the passing of property of an intestate decedent, each generation in the ascending or descending line shall be counted as one degree.

A Kansas probate attorney can help you determine whether you are next of kin for purposes of inheriting from a Kansas intestate estate.