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What Happens When You Die Without a Will in Florida?

January 29, 2021 by in Blog

A Last Will and Testament is a formal legal document stating how you want your assets distributed when you pass away and who will be in charge of administering your estate. This important document helps make sure that your estate is handled according to your wishes.  However, in Florida, what happens if you die without a Will? Dying without a Will is known as dying intestate. Each state has laws governing this situation, and your estate will be distributed among your heirs according to Florida’s laws of intestate succession. A Melbourne probate attorney can help explain this law to you if you are considering whether you need a Will in Florida or not, or if a loved one passed away without a Will and you are trying to figure out how to handle the estate.

Intestate Succession in Florida

Intestate succession refers to the legal process that determines how a person’s assets and property will be distributed if they pass away without a valid will in place. In the state of Florida, intestate succession laws are governed by specific statutes that outline the order of priority for distributing assets among surviving family members.

When someone dies without a will in Florida, their assets will be distributed according to the state’s laws of intestacy. These laws prioritize spouses, children, parents, and other close relatives in a specific order. If there is no surviving spouse or children, the deceased person’s parents may inherit their assets. If there are no surviving parents either, siblings or other more distant relatives may be entitled to a share.

It is important to note that intestate succession laws vary from state to state, so it is crucial to consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning and probate law to understand how these laws apply specifically in Florida.

Sample Intestate Scenarios

Scenario #1

If you die without a Will (intestate) and are married at the time of your death (and this is the first marriage), your spouse will inherit your estate. However, suppose you have children from a previous marriage or relationship. In that case, your spouse will inherit half of your estate, and your children of the prior marriage or relationship (as well as any children from the current marriage) will inherit the remaining half in equal shares.

Scenario #2

If you pass away without a Will (intestate), without a spouse, and without any children, then your surviving parent or parents will inherit your estate.  If you do not have any living parents, your siblings will inherit your estate in equal shares. If a sibling is deceased, then your sibling’s children (your nieces and/or nephews) will inherit that sibling’s share.  

Scenario #3

If none of your heirs can be tracked down who are eligible to inherit your property, then your estate will be transferred to the state, meaning that the government inherits your property. To avoid a situation like this or various other situations that you may not want to occur, it is important to speak with an experienced Melbourne probate attorney to ensure that your estate will pass according to your wishes. 

Next Step: Contact a Melbourne Probate Attorney at Lacey Lyons Rezanka Today

If you pass away without a Will but have an estate, your assets will pass according to Florida’s intestate succession law. Unfortunately, Florida’s version of your “Will” may not be what you want. Speak with an experienced Melbourne probate attorney at Lacey Lyons Rezanka today for an estate planning consultation. Contact us for assistance with preparing the documents necessary to transfer your assets at your death according to your wishes.