Previously in Florida, if a husband or wife passed away with only children belonging to the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse would receive the first $60,000 of the decedents probate estate, while the rest was split equally between the surviving spouse and the children or their heirs.
Governor Scott signed the Florida Law on June 21st. The new Florida Law gives everything to the surveying spouse (where one has passed away without a will and is survived only by a spouse and children of that marriage).
The reasoning for this rests behind the thought that the surviving spouse will “take care” of his or her own natural children and so there is no need to split anything beyond $60,000.
The new law does not change what happens when the decedent had children from outside the marriage. If someone with a mixed family dies without a Florida Will, 50% of the estate goes to the surviving spouse with the other 50% automatically divided among the decedent’s children or a deceased child’s descendants.
On a positive note, married couples typically want their surviving spouse to receive 100% of the deceased’s estate. However, if you would like to have a say in how your estate is divested, some action is necessary on your part.
One major concern with this is that as we age, the old law provided a mechanism to give assets to the kids without subjecting them to claims of nursing homes and medicaid eligibility of the surviving spouse. Now if you die without a will and your surviving spouse needs nursing home coverage, it may be more difficult to qualify given that there is a $2000 cap on the amount of assets a single person can have in Florida.
To Discuss your situation or speak with someone about your options Contact A Jacksonville Estate Planning Attorney by email or call anEstate Planning Lawyer in Jacksonville at 904-685-1200 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options in dividing your estate the way you see fit.