Dying without a will results in a process known as intestate succession. This is a legal process where Florida laws step in and distributes the property to the deceased’s heirs in a predetermined order.
Any property within the deceased’s estate may be transferred to the heirs or spouse as long as the property was not disposed of by will.
Florida regulates the order of succession to an intestate estate. The general scheme is:
- Surviving spouse and children
- Parents of the deceased
- Brothers and sisters and brother’s and sister’s children
The surviving spouse’s interest in a Florida estate depends on whether the deceased and the spouse had children and whether the deceased had children separate from the surviving spouse. If there are no children, the spouse receives the entire estate. If the surviving children are of the deceased and the surviving spouse, the spouse will receive $60,000 of the estate, plus one-half of the balance of the intestate estate. Finally if the surviving children are of the deceased but are separate from the spouse, the surviving spouse will receive one-half of the intestate estate.
If you believe that you might inherit property from someone who passed away without a will, an experienced estate lawyer can help you explore your options so that you will receive any interest of the intestate estate owed to you.