Dealing with the loss of a loved one is certainly an emotionally distressing situation. However, things can be even harder if the person died without having a last will. A will is the key element of estate planning, outlining how someone’s estate should be distributed upon death.
In this article, you will find out the outcome of the estate of someone who died without a will in Florida.
What Happens When Someone in Florida Dies Without a Will? – The Basics
Under Florida law, the term “intestate” refers to the estate of someone who died without a will.
Florida intestacy rules dictate the distribution of a decedent’s estate for someone who died without a valid will.
It is crucial to note that dying without a will is not ideal, as the deceased person may create a stressful situation for his or her loved ones in the inheritance process.
Florida Intestacy Rules – Inheritance Process
Florida statutory rules have a preset order of preference to determine who will inherit the decedent’s intestate property. In most cases, the surviving spouse is entitled to inherit the estate (either in whole or part).
Florida Statutes §732.102 provide that “the intestate share of the surviving spouse is:
- If there is no surviving descendant of the decedent, the entire intestate estate
- If the decedent is survived by one or more descendants, all of whom are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has no other descendant, the entire intestate estate
- If there are one or more surviving descendants of the decedent who are not lineal descendants of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate estate
- If there are one or more surviving descendants of the decedent, all of whom are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has one or more descendants who are not descendants of the decedent, one-half of the intestate estate”
Otherwise, as provided by Florida Statutes §732.103, “the part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse under s. 732.102, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, descends as follows:
- To the descendants of the decedent
- If there is no descendant, to the decedent’s father and mother equally, or to the survivor of them
- If there is none of the foregoing, to the decedent’s brothers and sisters and the descendants of deceased brothers and sisters”
If the decedent died without any of these relatives, his or her estate will be divided between his or her paternal and maternal kindred (one-half to each part), in the following order:
- “To the grandfather and grandmother equally, or to the survivor of them
- If there is no grandfather or grandmother, to uncles and aunts and descendants of deceased uncles and aunts of the decedent
- If there is either no paternal kindred or no maternal kindred, the estate shall go to the other kindred who survive, in the order stated above”
Ultimately, Florida Statutes §732.103 (5) adds that “if there is no kindred of either part, the whole of the property shall go to the kindred of the last deceased spouse of the decedent as if the deceased spouse had survived the decedent and then died intestate entitled to the estate.”
Immediately Contact Your Florida Probate Lawyer
As it is plain to see, intestacy laws are quite complex to understand without proper legal advice. Call Attorneys Romy B. Jurado and Diana L. Collazos today at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.