Often brought up in a will, a next-of-kin relationship determines inheritance rights when a person dies. Or if someone is incapacitated, the person’s closest living blood relative makes their medical decisions. In this video, you'll learn a simple way to understand this concept through an easy and brief explanation. However, if the person left an insurance or retirement policy designating a non-related beneficiary, that takes precedence. In most states, when a person dies without a will, their estate passes to their surviving spouse.