Did Your Loved One Pass Away Without a Will in Florida? Here is What You Should Know
In Florida, probate is a court-supervised legal process through which a deceased person’s property and assets are identified, gathered, and distributed to the appropriate heirs. One of the first steps of probate is confirming the validity of the will. This raises an important question: What happens if a person dies without a will in Florida?
The answer is that their estate still goes through probate—however, the distribution of their property and assets will be controlled not by their personal wishes or desires, but instead by state law (Florida Statutes § § 732.101 to 732.111). Here, our experienced south Florida probate lawyer explains the most important things that you should know about Florida’s intestacy laws.
An Overview of Intestate Succession in Florida
When a person passes away without a will in Florida, they will be deemed “intestate” by a probate court. All property that they owned must then be identified. Once this process is complete, the assets will then be divided up in accordance with the priority order set forth under state law. Here is how Florida’s intestate laws handle heirship when a person dies without a will;
- Spouse, No Children: The spouse will receive all property and assets.
- Spouse, Shared Children: The spouse will receive all property and assets.
- Spouse, Children From Other Relationship: The spouse will receive 50% of the property and assets and the deceased’s children will split the remaining 50%.
- Children, No Living Spouse: The children will split all property and assets.
- No Spouse, No Children: The parent(s) will receive all property and assets.
- No Spouse, No Children, No Parents: The closest living relative will have a claim to all property and assets.
- No Living Heirs: All property and assets will be turned over to the state of Florida.
If a person wants to have any say on what will happen to their property after they pass away, it is imperative that they put a carefully crafted estate plan in place. The failure to do so will leave a person at the whims of Florida law.
One of the key things to know about Florida’s intestacy laws is that unrelated parties do not have a claim to another person’s assets—regardless of how close they were to each other or how much the deceased person wanted them to have the property. Without the proper estate planning documents, the non-related lacks inheritance rights. To leave property to an unrelated person, you need a valid will or trust.
Call Our South Florida Probate Lawyer for Immediate Assistance
Do you have any questions or concerns about intestate succession in Florida? Our legal team is here to help. To set up a free, strictly confidential consultation with an experienced probate lawyer, please do not hesitate to contact us today. With a law office in Miami, we serve communities throughout the region, including in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Sarasota County, and Monroe County.