Your Guide to Florida’s Intestacy Laws
With effective estate planning, you can control what happens to your assets and property after you pass away. However, when a person dies without a will, they will lose control over what happens. Their estate will be handled under Florida’s intestacy laws.
In other words, Florida law will step in as a default mechanism and determine how a person’s property will be distributed. Here, our Tampa estate planning lawyers highlight the three key things you should know about Florida’s intestacy laws.
Three Things You Should Know About Florida’s Intestacy Laws
- Intestacy Laws Control Assets and Property That Would Otherwise Pass Through a Will
Under Florida state law (Florida Statutes § 732.101), intestacy laws will control all assets and property that would have passed through a will, if one had been drafted. Put another way, assets that were put into a trust are not subject to intestate succession. A properly-crafted trust is still valid even if the decedent did not write a will. However, any remaining assets that would have been covered by a will must pass through intestate succession.
- Assets and Property are Passed to Next-of-Kin
The basic rule of intestate succession in Florida is relatively straightforward: Property is passed to the decedent’s next-of-kin. Of course, without a will, you do not get to choose your next-of-kin. Florida law determines who qualifies as a person’s next-of-kin. The basic structure is as follows:
- The spouse gets everything if there are no children;
- The spouse gets everything if they share children with the decedent;
- The spouse splits assets with children of another relationship; and
- The children get everything if there is no surviving spouse;
- The parents get everything if there is no spouse or children; and
- The closest living relative gets everything if there is no spouse, children, or parents.
- Estate Planning Allows You to Take Control Over the Process
If you are planning for what will happen to your assets, you can spare yourself the hassle of worrying about intestate succession. A comprehensive estate plan will allow you to take control over the process. You get to determine what will happen to your property or assets. You are under no obligation to make any particular decision. It is your choice as to what will happen to your money, property, and other assets. Estate planning is about empowerment. An estate planning attorney can help you carry out your wishes in the most effective and efficient manner.
Get Help From a Tampa, FL Estate Administration Lawyer for Immediate Help
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Tampa estate planning attorneys are diligent and reliable advocates for our clients. Our lawyers help people find solutions. If you have questions about Florida’s intestacy laws or estate planning in general, we are always available to help. Contact us now to learn more about what we can do for you. Our law firm offers estate planning services throughout all of Hillsborough County, including in Valrico, Riverview, Brandon, Lutz, and Keystone.