My Cousin Once/Twice/Thrice Removed

February 19, 2015 Hull & Hull LLP Beneficiary Designations, Estate Planning, General Interest Tags: , , 0 Comments

In estate litigation we often have to explain to the court, in detail, the relationship between different family members. When a client says that a person is their brother or mother, that is usually pretty straightforward.

One of the most confusing terms used to describe a familial relationship is the word “cousin”. We use the word to describe, obviously, our relationship to the children of our aunts and uncles (our true cousins). However, sometimes people also say that someone is their “second cousin twice removed”. That can make anyone quite confused about what the specific family tree should look like.

In my quest for some clarity, I came across a helpful site. It explains that if someone is your first cousin (so picture your ‘regular’ cousin) then his or her child would be your “first cousin once removed.” The term once or twice removed always means one or more generation levels different from you.

All of your regular cousins (and some can be called first, second, third etc. but I will discuss that aspect tomorrow) are at the same generation level as yourself. Those at different generational levels are referred to as “removed.”

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog on First, Second and Third Cousins!

Moira Visoiu

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