What Happens If You Die Without a Will in Florida?
When a person passes away without a last will and testament in place, they are said to have died “intestate.” If this happens to you, your assets will be passed on to your heirs per Florida state law.
In general, these rules do not result in the state taking ownership of your assets. That only occurs if you did not have any heirs, or at least any heirs who could be found.
Part I, Chapter 732 of the Florida Statutes outlines the order of priority that governs how a decedent’s probate assets will be distributed to their heirs. Below is a quick overview of how it works.
- If you have a surviving spouse, but no living children or other descendants (such as grandchildren or other specified descendants), the spouse automatically inherits all of the probate estate.
- If you have a surviving spouse and one or more descendants (who are descendants of both you and your spouse), and your surviving spouse has no living descendants of his or her own, your spouse receives all the probate assets.
- If you are survived by a spouse and have one or more living descendants (who are descendants of both you and your spouse), but your spouse has additional descendants not related to you, your spouse receives half of your probate assets and your descendants share the other half.
- If you were not married at the time of your death, but had one or more descendants, those descendants receive all your probate assets. In a case with more than one descendant, the estate will be divided among them in accordance with Florida law. If one of your children did not survive you, but that child had his or her own children, that child’s share of the estate is divided among your grandchildren.
- If you were not married at the time of your death and did not have any surviving descendants, your estate passes to your surviving parents. If you do not have surviving parents, your siblings inherit your estate.
- If none of the relatives listed above has survived you, Florida law calls for the distribution of your property to more remote heirs.
To learn more about how you can create a will for your estate, meet with a knowledgeable Pensacola estate planning attorney at The Law Office of Zachary T. Magaha.