Intestate Succession In Florida: Who Gets What?
In Florida, if you do not have a last will and testament prepared upon your death, probate court is tasked with determining how your financial affairs are settled and assets distributed. The probate court relies on Florida intestate succession statutes to determine the beneficiaries for your assets. It’s important to understand that if your assets go to probate court and you do not have a will, then the statutory guidelines will strictly control in terms of who receives what. The court will not attempt to determine your intent, and will simply rely on the statutes to decide on the beneficiaries. For this reason, it’s helpful to know how your assets will be divided if you continue not to take action with regard to estate planning. If you are unhappy with how the statutes would call for your assets to be distributed, then that can be a strong impetus to get your affairs in order and execute a will or other estate planning mechanisms that will ensure that your wishes are adhered to. The information in this article is intended to be general. However, if you would like specific feedback based on your individual case, you are welcome to contact the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray to schedule a consultation and receive personalized advice.
What Assets Are Affected by Intestate Succession
Not all assets have to go through probate. With proper estate planning, it is possible to avoid probate. However, even in living life normally you will probably stumble out of probate on at least a few major items. For instance, joint checking accounts and homes with a joint owner and survivorship rights will automatically transfer to the other owner upon your death. However, any assets that are solely in your name will have to go through this intestate succession process unless other actions are taken.
How Are Assets Distributed Under Intestate Succession
Under Florida intestate succession statutes, if you have children but no spouse, then your children will inherit all of your assets. If you have a spouse, but no children, then your spouse will receive all of your assets. If you have no spouse or children, but you have parents, then your parents will receive all of your assets. If you have no spouse, children, or parents, but you have siblings, then your siblings will be the sole beneficiaries.
If you have a spouse and you have shared children together, and neither of you has any other children from previous or other relationships, then the spouse will inherit everything. If you have a spouse and only have children with someone other than your spouse (such as from a previous relationship) then your spouse will receive half of your estate and your children will receive the other half of your estate. If you and your spouse have shared children, and your spouse also has children from another relationship, your spouse will receive half of your estate and your children with that spouse will receive half of the estate. Blended families can be a challenge in both testacy and intestacy.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are ready to address your estate planning needs and want to make sure that your loved ones are protected and cared for regardless of what happens in life, the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray are ready to help. Contact West Palm Beach estate planning lawyer Larry E. Bray today to schedule a consultation.