Saturday 29 February 2020

Next of Skin but not Next of Kin

I was thinking this morning..... about Next of Skin sorry Next of Kin. A couple of days ago, there was a Knowledge Sharing session where I work, on Wills and Estate Planning and it elicited discussions amongst us in our work space. We all agreed that while most male staff will include their wives and children in their wills, the career females will hardly put their husbands as the main beneficiary of their will. When I got home that evening I pondered a bit more on the reason why and stumbled on the comment of one Gorcas Sarkozy on social media where she said, 'I once worked in an organisation where I had access to people's files. One of the things I noticed that disturbs me to date is that 99% of married women wrote their children, parents and siblings as NEXT OF KIN. But 100% of married men wrote their wives as NEXT OF KIN.' She concluded by asking 'Why does this happen? What am I missing? Is it that women don't trust their husbands or they are just being mean?' Hmm!!!

While the submission of Gorcas cannot be substantiated, it may not be far from the truth. As I reflected on both the Will and Next of Kin scenarios, I asked, what is really driving this behaviour? I can understand husbands not being the main beneficiary of the will of their wives, but don't understand why he will not be her next of kin. In my confusion, I consulted Google and found out that Next of Kin (NOK) has no legal definition in the United Kingdom meaning an individual can nominate any other individual as their NOK.

If you think about it, 'next of kin' sounds like 'next of skin' to me. If a couple could spend the better part of their lives lying skin to skin in bed, I really do not understand why they won't be each other's next of kin. Moreso, because the status of next-of-kin does not in any way imply that they stand to inherit any of the individual's estate in the event of their death. 

So, if a woman can't nominate her husband as NOK, what do you expect when it comes to her will that outlines who to inherit her hard earned money and properties? In the words of Omawumi 'if you ask me, na who I go ask.' I think it borders on trust deficit. Most men will trust their wives to give utmost care to their children in the event of an untimely death and will therefore will his asset to her and the children. But most working and successful women believe that should she die untimely, their husbands will in a short time marry another woman and enjoy her wealth, sometimes abandoning their children if the new wife is of the mould we see in Nollywood movies. 

I may not know the real reasons why a woman will decide not to put her husband as NOK and exclude him from her will, because it varies from one person to another, but what I know is that any man in this position should be worried and should do everything possible to earn the trust of his wife. My final take is that if you can trust a man or woman enough to be your next of skin, why won't that person be your next of kin? Ecclesiastes 4:9 says 'Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.'

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 

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