The last will is the document in which a testator (the person creating the will) outlines his or her wishes on how the estate should be distributed, appointing or excluding the persons who will inherit the property.
What happens if a Florida resident dies without a will? In this article, you will have a full overview of intestate succession per stirpes in Florida.
Florida Intestate Succession Per Stirpes – The Fundamentals
Florida Statutes §732.901 (1) provides that “the custodian of a will must deposit the will with the clerk of the court having venue of the estate of the decedent within 10 days after receiving information that the testator is dead.”
Preparing a valid will serves to ensure that one’s estate will be divided according to his or her personal preferences. If someone fails to prepare a valid will, the deceased person’s property may not be distributed according to his or her wishes.
Upon receipt of the decedent’s will, a court must determine the validity of the document and assess whether the estate is subject to probate. If there is no will, the court must execute the deceased person’s estate under Florida intestacy laws.
Under Florida law, the estate of a person who dies without a will is considered “intestate.” The Florida Probate Code specifies that “any part of the estate of a decedent not effectively disposed of by will passes to the decedent’s heirs as prescribed in the following sections of this code.”
Florida Intestate Succession Per Stirpes – Taking a Closer Look
While someone is alive, that person has the chance to make a valid will. Once a Florida resident dies without a will, all assets held solely in the decedent’s name are subject to court-supervised intestate distribution.
Florida Statutes §732.101(2) provides that “the decedent’s death is the event that vests the heirs’ right to the decedent’s intestate property.”
Under Florida Statutes §732.104, “descent shall be per stirpes, whether to descendants or to collateral heirs.” All assets subject to court distribution must go through the decedent’s heir or descendants “per stirpes.”
Hence, the decedent’s children and grandchildren are entitled to receive portions of the intestate estate – depending on which parties are still alive.
Florida intestacy laws tend to favor the decedent’s surviving spouse in the order of preference for distribution. As described by Florida Statutes §732.102, “the intestate share of the surviving spouse is:
- If there is no surviving descendant of the decedent, the entire intestate estate
- If 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
- If 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
- If 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”
Florida Statutes §732.103 details how the part of the intestate estate not passing to the decedent’s surviving spouse pass to his or her descendants, including children, grandchildren, and other blood relatives.
Florida Intestacy Cases Require Expert Approach – Immediately Contact Jurado & Associates, P.A.
Contact a well-versed attorney from Jurado & Associates, P.A. to find a strategic solution for your case. Get in touch with us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing Romy@juradolawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.