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What happens when someone dies without a will in Florida?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Time waits for no one. Death can happen at any time. Do you want to leave your heirs wondering what to do with your estate when you die as they attempt to grieve your passing? Does the thought of state law dictating what becomes of your assets bother you? You may want to consult with an attorney if either one of these scenarios makes you feel uncomfortable. 

Familial conflict might arise as your heirs realize that they have little control over your estate if you die intestate, or without a will.

How does intestate succession work in Florida?

Each state handles such situations differently. 

In Florida, someone who dies without a will and is only survived by a spouse and their descendants will typically have 100% of their estate go to their husband or wife. Someone who dies with a spouse and descendants from a previous relationship (like children from a prior marriage) will generally have 50% of their estate go to their surviving husband or wife. The remaining 50% go to their descendants. 

Floridians who don’t have any surviving spouse at the time of their death will have 100% of their estate will go to their descendants, per stirpes. If that individual doesn’t have any descendants, their parents will inherit equal shares of their estate. A parent will inherit 100% of the estate if they’re the only surviving one at the time of their child’s death. 

If a person dies without a will, with no descendants and no parents, then 100% of their estate will go to their siblings or descendants of their siblings, per stirpes. If a person dies with no descendants, no parents, no siblings or descendants of siblings, then 50% of the estate will go to their paternal family, and the other 50% will go to the maternal family.

How to have a say as to what happens with your estate

As one can see, dying without a will to detail one’s wishes may result in your assets going to an unintended recipient. Your preparation of a will can prevent this from happening. An attorney can help you prepare this and other critical estate planning documents so that you can end your life on your terms when the time comes.