Dying Without a Will: Intestate Succession in Florida
Most people understand the importance of drafting a will, and yet they often put it off far too long to the point where they die without one. While this can be stressful for your family, Florida has a number of laws that allow for intestate succession so that your property is passed down to your closest family members.
The only property that is passed down through intestate succession laws is that which you own singularly in your name. This means that houses or vehicles that you co-own are not affected by intestate succession. Additionally, these laws don’t affect any property you have placed into a living trust or bank accounts that have payable-on-death provisions.
If you do own property in your name, such as real estate or personal property, this property will go to your closest living heirs upon your death. For the most part, Florida’s intestate succession laws attempt to capture what is most often people’s desire in leaving property. For this reason, if you have a spouse or children, all of your property will go to them if you have not left a will.
That said, Florida’s intestate succession laws are precise in how exactly property will be distributed and these laws account for a number of circumstances. For instance, if you have a spouse and children with that spouse, all of your property will pass to your spouse. If, however, you have a spouse and children from different partner, your spouse will receive half of your property and your children will receive the other half. If you have a spouse and children from that spouse and your spouse has children from another relationship, your spouse will receive half of your property and your children will receive the other half.
It’s always best to plan ahead by drafting a legal will. For assistance with this and other estate planning matters in Florida, consult the dedicated estate planning attorneys at BaumannKangas Estate Law.