Under Florida law, surviving spouses are entitled to automatically inherit specific categories of property. This is crucial to understand because not all property and not all assets are instantaneously passed on. Some individuals mistakenly assume that all assets are automatically inherited and, as a result, neglect to draft a will.
Therefore, if you are wondering what happens to assets when spouse dies this is the article for you.
Which Assets Does A Surviving Spouse Receive In Florida?
In Florida, surviving spouses enjoy favorable inheritance laws. According to Florida’s Probate Code, the spouse who outlives is entitled to the following assets and properties:
Inheritance Of The Family Residence
A spouse will automatically inherit the family home upon the passing of their spouse no matter the contents of a will.
Intestate Share of an Estate
Typically, the disposition of the estate, which refers to a person’s assets, legal rights, and interest, after their passing is determined by their will. Nonetheless, Florida’s intestate succession laws will govern the distribution if the individual did not have a valid will.
Let us guide you through some scenarios to help you understand what happens to assets when spouse dies:
- If there are no other heirs aside from the spouse, or if the deceased spouse has descendants solely with the surviving spouse, then the spouse receives the entirety of the state.
- If the deceased individual has descendants from a different relationship, and/or the surviving spouse does not share any descendants with the deceased spouse, then the spouse receives a 50% share of the estate, while the remaining 50% is inherited by the descendants of the deceased person.
Elective Estate Inheritance
The elective estate inheritance law in Florida serves as a safeguard to ensure that surviving spouses are not unjustly excluded from receiving a portion of the trust, estate, or property. This legal provision guarantees a surviving spouse a share of the deceased spouse’s estate, irrespective of the stipulations in the will.
Inheritance of Exempt Property
Exempt property, such as personal belongings, furniture, appliances, with a combined net value of up to $20 000 can be inherited to be surviving spouses. It’s important to note that this entitlement is separate from the elective share inheritance discussed earlier.
Marital Inheritance of Vehicles
The surviving spouse may also be entitled to inherit up to two vehicles that were designated as their deceased spouse’s primary mode of transportation.
Family Support Provision
Surviving spouses may also be eligible to receive financial assistance from the estate throughout the probate process, with the primary aim of safeguarding the welfare and financial security of the family. Under Florida law, the highest permissible family allowance stands at $18,000. It’s essential to note that this allowance is not automatically granted and necessitates a formal hearing before a probate judge for approval.
Pretermitted Spousal Share
In cases where a spouse passes away shortly after marriage without creating or updating their will to include you, you are, in most cases, entitled to receive an intestate share of their estate. There may be some scenarios in which this may not apply. Therefore, you must consult with a Florida estate planning attorney to assess your rights.
Non-Probate Inheritance Arrangements
Certain assets and properties are exempt from the probate procedure if beneficiaries or joint owners are named, such as: retirement accounts, payable-on-death bank accounts, living Trusts, life insurance policies, jointly owned bank accounts or real estate.
We Are Here to Help You
We recognize that losing a loved one is an emotionally challenging period, and handling legal affairs and understanding what happens to assets when spouse dies can be a difficult task.
Our team of Florida estate planning attorneys offers consultations to assist families to find solutions for any conflicts. You can call us at (305) 921-0976, email us at [email protected], or reach us via WhatsApp at +1 (305) 921-0976.