My sister's step daughter passed away at 45 (alcohol poisoning) yesterday in Austin, TX. The hospital will not release the body to the 19 year-old son because they said her step-mother (my sister) was next of kin.
Is this correct?
No, that's not correct. If she has a surviving spouse, it would be her spouse, otherwise, it would be her son. Just on the off-chance this has something to do with it, make sure they realize that the son is over 18--they might be right about that if he were a minor, and if he looks young for his age, they may be assuming he's under 18.
Assuming she was not married, children are always the next-of-kin. So, the 19-year-old son would be the next in line.
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