How is Distribution of the Estate Handled if there is no Will?
Florida law sets forth rules for the distribution of an estate if there is no will, known as the laws of intestacy. A general summary is as follows:
If these is a surviving spouse and no lineal descendants, the surviving spouse is entitled to the entire estate.
If there is a surviving spouse with lineal descendants, and all lineal descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse is entitled to the first $20,000 of the probate estate, plus one-half of the remainder of the probate estate. The descendants share in equal portions the remainder of the estate.
If there is a surviving spouse with lineal descendants, and not all lineal desdendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse is entitled to one-half of the probate estate, and the descendants of the deceased share the other half of the estate in equal shares.
If there is no surviving spouse and there are descendants, each child is entitled to an equal share, with the children of a deceased child sharing the share of their deceased parent.
If there is no surviving spouse and no children or other descendants, Florida law provides additional rules for distributing an estate in such circumstances.
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Florida estate planning, probate, guardianship, & elder law is complex and cannot be covered completely in an article. Whenever a specific question or problem arises, you should consult an attorney.