People largely get to control what happens with their property when they die if they engage in proper planning. For most adults, the creation of a will or trust is a crucial step in the process of establishing a legacy and providing for family members after their death.
Unfortunately, quite a few people procrastinate about estate planning. Someone in your family, maybe your parents, may have always had an excuse about why they did not yet have a will. Most people who put off estate planning assume they will have time to handle the process eventually, but life can sometimes prove them wrong.
Thankfully, if someone in your family dies without a will, the Florida probate courts will help handle the distribution of their property and the resolution of any outstanding obligations left at the time of their death.
Florida law has clear rules for property distribution
When someone dies without a will or other testamentary documents, they have died intestate. Florida already has thorough probate laws exploring what will happen with someone’s property should they die without proper plans in place.
Intestate succession laws seek to protect the rights of dependent family members by enshrining their right to inheritance in state code. The spouse and children of the person who died are the people with the strongest rights. The exact rules for how the courts divide the property will depend on whether the surviving spouse is also the legal or biological parent of the surviving children.
When someone dies without a spouse or children, then intestate succession laws may grant property to other family members. Their parents could inherit most of their property, and other family members have rights when there aren’t immediate relatives.
The courts can oversee the entire process
When someone dies without a will, the chances of their family members disagreeing about what is reasonable or fair are relatively high. Some people may even try to make financial claims against the estate when they realize they will not inherit anything. Probate court oversight is frequently necessary when someone dies without a will.
If someone close to you recently died and did not believe behind a will at the time of their passing, you may need to prepare for probate proceedings and disputes among family members. Learning more about Florida’s probate laws can help you better understand what to expect after a loved one’s death.