Wills help individuals pass on their assets according to their own unique desires. However, if someone dies without a will, Florida intestacy laws come into action.
Intestate succession is the process of distributing estate assets to the closest relatives of the deceased. The probate court will only follow this succession in the absence of a will.
Who gets what
The prioritization of relatives under intestate succession depends on who survives the decedent. According to 2018 Florida Statutes, here is what happens depending on who outlives the deceased:
- Children and no spouse: Children get everything.
- Spouse and no descendants: Spouse gets everything.
- Spouse and descendants with no spousal descendants from a previous relationship: Spouse gets everything.
- Spouse and descendants and the spouse has descendants from a previous relationship: Spouse and descendants of the decedent each get half.
- Spouse and descendants, including those from someone other than the spouse: Spouse and descendants of the decedent each get half.
- Parents and no spouse or descendants: Parents get everything.
From there, the law gives inheritances to siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
When the state receives intestate property
The only time the state government of Florida will obtain inheritance assets is when it exhausts the list of relatives and locates no one. This rarely happens.
When someone dies before enacting a will, he or she loses the ability to have control over what happens to his or her estate. According to a piece in Forbes, having a will in place not only gives the decedent peace of mind but also helps prevent family conflicts.