Good afternoon. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.
Next of kin is legally defined as the nearest blood relative.
Parents and children (including illegitimate children) are treated as being closer than grandparents grandchildren or siblings.
However, in cases like this, it is the closest person by even if that is by marriage who can dictate who he sees if he is in hospital. The hospital will not go behind a spouse’s wishes.
If he is not in hospital, then the wife can prevent anyone visiting the house (regardless of your brother’s health) who she doesn’t want to be there. She is entitled to exclude any visitors that she wishes.
However, anyone that wants access to him, regardless of who they are) cannot beat the wife with a stick until she allows this and if he is in hospital, the hospital will simply take the line of least resistance and agree with the wife. Notwithstanding the foregoing and if a parent or anyone else believes that she is going against her husband’s wishes (you will of course find out eventually when he recovers hopefully in any event) they can always apply to court for a court order and the court will decide the issue . However, it isn’t going to be quick or cheap or risk-free. If the heart-attack is life-threatening, it may be possible to make an emergency application to court for an interim order pending a full hearing. It would require a certificate of urgency (letter) explaining exactly why this matter should be put before the judge on an emergency basis (within a day or so)
What you might want to do is get a solicitor to write to her threatening the court application and an application for costs unless she allows family members to visit. She is likely to take more notice of a solicitors letter than a letter just from you or his parents. However, it isn’t one, being extremely honest and blunt with you, that I would want to take to court with any hope of succeeding.
I am sorry, I appreciate this is not the answer you wanted but nonetheless, does it answer the question.
Please bear with me over the weekend because I will be online and off-line spasmodically and therefore, I may not get back to you immediately.