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Florida Probate and Intestacy – What if You Die Without a Will or Testament?

Just like we know that we need to buy life insurance and save for retirement but we keep ignoring and delaying the decision, same thing happens with writing a will. We all know we are going to die one day, but we keep postponing the decision to write a will. Writing a will ensures that your possessions and assets are passed on only to those whom you want to have them. Even if you wish to pass your assets to your own family it still makes sense to write a will as it will make things a lot easier for your family members. They will not have to struggle their way through the legal issues to gain possession of your assets.

If the deceased fails to write a will, he is considered to have died intestate. In such a scenario the assets and possessions of deceased will be distributed as per the intestacy rules. The intestacy laws are dynamic and keep changing with time. Besides, intestacy laws may not be uniform across all states in the US.

Discussed below are the intestacy laws for different scenarios that will come into force if the deceased happen to be a Florida resident and dies without writing a will.


Here are some common scenarios you may find yourself into:

1. The deceased is survived by spouse and descendants of the deceased spouse
In such a case, the surviving spouse will inherit 100 percent of the deceased person’s property.

2. The deceased is survived by a spouse and descendants, but some descendants are not of the surviving spouse
In this case the surviving spouse will inherit half the estate while the descendants of previous spouse will inherit rest of the estate.

3. The deceased is survived by a spouse and descendants which include descendants of the surviving spouse who are not the descendants of the deceased person
The surviving spouse will get 50 percent of the estate and the remaining 50 percent will go the descendants of the deceased person.

4. Survived by a spouse but no descendants
Quite obviously the surviving spouse will inherit 100 percent of the estate in this case. 

5. Survived by descendants but no spouse
The descendants will inherit 100 percent of the estate

6. Deceased person is survived by neither spouse nor descendants but by one or both the parents
If both the parents are living they will equally share the estate or else the surviving parent will get 100 percent of the estate.

7. Deceased person is survived by neither spouse nor descendants or parents but survived by siblings / descendants of the siblings
In such a case the siblings and descendants of the deceased sibling will inherit the estate.

8. The deceased person is not survived either by spouse, parents, siblings or descendants
The paternal and maternal family of the deceased person will share the inherited estate equally.

9. There are no surviving family members
The probate estate will be escheat to the state of Florida and the proceeds from the sale of estate will be deposited in the state school fund.

When a person dies without writing a will the inheritance laws come in picture. The laws regarding probate in Florida are intricate and dynamic so you must consult a probate attorney in Florida who has expertise in the subject.

Contact the law office of Michael T. Heider today to consult or hire a probate attorney in Florida to handle your estate needs.

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