Who is the Nearest Relative?


Legal term for a family member who has certain responsibilities and powers when someone is detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act. Your nearest relative is determined using the following hierarchy:

– Husband, wife or civil partner
– Son or daughter
– Father or mother
– Brother or sister
– Grandparent
– Grandchild
– Uncle or aunt
– Nephew or niece

In each case, it is always the oldest of the individuals in any category that will be your nearest relative, for example, if both your parents are still alive, it will be the oldest who is named nearest relative. Likewise with any siblings, children etc. Nearest relative is not the same as a Next of Kin. A nearest relative can be displaced in certain circumstances.


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