What Happens If Someone Dies Without a Will in Florida?
If a person dies without a valid will in Florida, the distribution of their assets will be controlled by Florida’s intestate succession laws (Florida Statutes § 732.101). As a general rule, these laws require property to be passed on to a person’s ‘next-of-kin’. Though, determining who exactly should get what can sometimes be challenging. Below, our Tampa probate lawyers offer a more detailed overview of what happens when someone passes away without a will in the state of Florida.
Intestate Succession in Florida: How it Works
If you want to have control over what happens to your assets and property, it is imperative that you have a will, a living trust, or another type of effective estate plan in place. Without a will, any remaining assets will be divided in accordance with Florida intestate succession rules. Your wishes will not be considered. Here is how intestate succession works in Florida in some of the most common scenarios:
- If a person dies with a spouse, but no children: The spouse gets everything;
- If a person dies with a spouse and shared children: The spouse gets everything;
- If a person dies with a spouse and children, but their spouse also has children from another relationship: The spouse gets half and their children get half;
- If a person dies with children and no spouse: The children get everything;
- If a person dies with no spouse and no children: Their parents get everything;
- If a person dies with no spouse, no children, and their parents have died: Their siblings gets everything; and
- If a person dies with no legally valid heirs: The state of Florida will take their assets.
Unrelated parties are not valid heirs for the purposes of intestate succession. You must have a will or a trust to pass on property to someone who is not your immediate family member.
How Probate Works Without a Will in Florida
If there is no legally valid will, a person’s estate will still be required to go through Florida’s probate process. During this process, all of their assets and liabilities will be identified, their heirs will be identified, and their assets will be divided according to Florida’s intestate succession laws. In some cases, going through probate without a will is not especially difficult. However, in other cases, such as when there is a dispute or when heirs are struggling to identify all of the deceased’s property, it can be challenging — especially if the person had a particularly complicated family life. If your loved one died without a will, you should speak to an experienced Tampa probate lawyer who can protect your legal rights.
Get Help From a Tampa, FL Probate Attorney Today
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Florida probate lawyers have the skills and experience to represent clients whose loved one did not leave a will. To find out more about what our legal team can do for you and your family, please contact us today. We handle probate issues throughout Hillsborough County, FL, including in Tampa, Brandon, Valrico, Gibsonton, and Thonotosassa.