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A Review Of The Intestate Succession Laws In Florida


Perhaps the most important reason to draft a will is so that you can avoid the intestate succession laws of the state. When a person dies without a will, the State of Florida basically provides the deceased with a Will.  It is referred to as our intestacy laws. Basically, the estate will be divided among various individuals according to Florida’s intestate succession laws. The intestacy laws of the state are not inherently bad, but they do take control away from the deceased and distribute the estate according to a certain formula. Below, our St. Petersburg wills lawyer explains the intestate succession laws in further detail.

The Intestate Succession Laws in Florida

Under the intestate succession laws in Florida, if a person dies without a valid will, their estate is distributed among the deceased’s closest relatives. These include:

  • Surviving spouses are given the first right to inherit the state, but the marriage must be one legally recognized under the law. In the event the deceased did not have children, the surviving spouse will receive 100 percent of the estate. If the deceased is survived by a spouse and children from an earlier marriage, then the surviving spouse would get 50% of the estate and the children will divide the other 50%.
  • Any surviving children are next in the line of succession under the intestacy laws. To meet the legal requirements, surviving children must be the biological children of the deceased or legally adopted by the deceased.
  • The parents of the deceased can receive the estate if there is not a surviving spouse or child.
  • When the parents of the deceased have already died, the siblings of the decedent are next in the line of succession.

Even when a person would distribute their estate according to the intestate laws, it is important to remember that families today are much more complex. People have often been married multiple times, and may have children from each of those marriages. While the probate court will still intervene and determine which parties have a right to the estate, creating a will allows you to retain full control of your estate.

Assets Not Impacted by the Intestate Succession Laws

It is true that many assets of the estate must pass through probate when a person dies without a will in Florida. However, there are some that do not, even when a person dies intestate. The assets not normally affected by probate are as follows:

  • Life insurance policies with a named primary or secondary beneficiary, as the money will pass directly to the beneficiaries. Life insurance policies are also not typically subject to creditor claims.
  • Revocable trusts
  • Jointly owned property with rights of survivorship will usually automatically be transferred to the surviving owner
  • IRAs, 401Ks, and other insurance policies that have named beneficiaries

Our Wills Lawyer in St. Petersburg Can Help You Avoid Probatet

There are many good options for avoiding probate and at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, our St. Petersburg wills lawyer can advise you of your legal options to make sure your family is protected. Call us now at 727-471-5868 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation and to obtain the legal advice you need.



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