What happens if there is no will?

In aFlorida Probate, where the decedent did not have a will, Florida’s intestate laws of succession define how property will be distributed between the person’s family members.

If there was a surviving spouse and no lineal descendants the spouse will receive everything in the decedent’s estate.

If there is no spouse but there are lineal descendants (children) then the estate is split equally between all surviving children. If a child predeceased their parent and had children of their own, that child’s share will be equally divided between his or her children (the decedent’s grandchildren). If the child that did not survive the parent did not have children, that child’s share will go to his or her siblings equally.

If there is a surviving spouse and descendants and:

1. all of the descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse will receive the first $60,000 plus 1/2 of the remaining estate, with the balance being shared between the lineal descendants.
2. one or more of the lineal descendants is not a lineal descendant of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse receives 1/2 of the probate estate and the lineal descendants receive the other 1/2 of the probate estate.

If there is no surviving spouse and no lineal descendants the probate property goes to the decedent’s surviving parents and if none, then to the decedent’s siblings or the descendants of any deceased brothers or sisters.

There are other provisions in the Florida Probate code which provide for exceptions for homestead property, exempt personal property, and a statutory allowance to the surviving spouse and any lineal descendants or ascendants the decedent supported.

If you need help with a Florida Probate and determining your rightful share of an estate in Florida you should contact an attorney familiar with Florida Probate or a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer.

Jacksonville Probate Lawyer, David Goldman has put together a Florida Probate Handbook that is being offered free to readers and visitors of his websites. If you would like a copy, visit the Free Florida Probate Handbook web page, fill out the form, and one will be sent to you within 24 hours by email.

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