If a person dies without a will, that person is said to have died “intestate”. Should the decedent die intestate, the probate assets are usually not turned over to the state of Florida. This situation would occur if the decedent had no “heirs.” If the decedent died intestate, the decedent’s probate assets will be distributed to the decedent’s heirs according to Part 1. Chapter 732 of Florida Statutes. This distribution of the decedent’s probate estate is subject to exceptions for homestead property and exempt personal property, and a statutory allowance to the surviving spouse and lineal heirs that decedent supported.
According to the Florida Probate Code the probate assets of an intestate decedent passes to their statutory heirs as follows :
- If there is a surviving spouse and no surviving descendant of the decedent, the entire intestate estate goes to the spouse.
- If there is a surviving spouse and the decedent is survived by one or more descendants, all of whom are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has no other descendant, the entire intestate estate goes to the spouse.
- If there is a surviving spouse and there are one or more surviving descendants of the decedent who are not lineal descendants of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate estate goes to the spouse.
- If there is a surviving spouse and there are one or more surviving descendants of the decedent, all of whom are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has one or more descendants who are not descendants of the decedent, one-half of the intestate estate goes to the spouse.
If the deceased person is not survived by a spouse or descendants
- To the descendants of the decedent.
- If there is no descendant, to the decedent’s father and mother equally, or to the survivor of them.
- If there is none of the foregoing, to the decedent’s brothers and sisters and the descendants of deceased brothers and sisters.
- If there is none of the foregoing, the estate shall be divided, one-half of which shall go to the decedent’s paternal, and the other half to the decedent’s maternal, kindred in the following order:
- To the grandfather and grandmother equally, or to the survivor of them.
- If there is no grandfather or grandmother, to uncles and aunts and descendants of deceased uncles and aunts of the decedent.
- If there is either no paternal kindred or no maternal kindred, the estate shall go to the other kindred who survive, in the order stated above.
- If there are no kindred of either part, the whole of the property shall go to the kindred of the last deceased spouse of the decedent as if the deceased spouse had survived the decedent and then died intestate entitled to the estate.
- If none of the foregoing, and if any of the descendants of the decedent’s great-grandparents were Holocaust victims as defined in s. 626.9543(3)(a), including such victims in countries cooperating with the discriminatory policies of Nazi Germany, then to the descendants of the great-grandparents. The court shall allow any such descendant to meet a reasonable, not unduly restrictive, standard of proof to substantiate his or her lineage. This subsection only applies to escheated property and shall cease to be effective for proceedings filed after December 31, 2004.
Next of Kin Disputes
Who is a “next of kin”? This sometimes can be contentious and parties may challenge whether a potential heir qualifies or not. This becomes a greater possibility the more remote possible heirs are. How do you avoid this? Prepare a will that leaves your assets to the beneficiaries that you choose. The attorneys at Akin Law P.A. are available to assist you with this important part of your estate plan
Guidance in the toughest times.
By law, most often probate administration must be handled by a qualified attorney. At Akin Law P.A. we have extensive experience administering probate and assisting beneficiaries arrange and distribute assets. The attorneys at Akin Law dedicate their time to meticulously assisting clients with all details of the probate administration process. If you require a probate and estate administration attorney, please contact us today for a consultation.