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Daytona Beach Lawyers > Blog > Wills > Understanding The Intestate Succession Laws In Florida

Understanding The Intestate Succession Laws In Florida


There are many reasons to create a will but perhaps the most important is so your estate is not subject to the intestate succession laws. When a person passes away and they did not have a will, no one legally owns their estate. To determine how the estate will be divided, it must go through probate court. The probate court will then divide the estate according to the law. Florida’s intestacy laws are not necessarily bad. However, they do divide the estate according to a formula, even if this does not reflect your wishes. Below, our Daytona Beach wills and trusts lawyer explains more.

What are Florida’s Intestate Succession Laws? 

When a person passes away without a will, Florida’s intestate succession laws divided the estate of the deceased among the closest relatives of the decedent. The relatives are given priority and that is as follows:

  • A surviving spouse is the first to inherit the estate, but they must have been legally married to the decedent. If the decedent did not have surviving children, the spouse will receive the entire estate.
  • Surviving children are given next priority to the estate after the surviving spouse. Biological and legally adopted children are given the same rights to the estate.
  • If the decedent did not have a surviving spouse or children, the parents can inherit the estate.
  • If the decedent did not have a surviving spouse, children, or parents, the estate will be divided among any surviving siblings.

The intestate succession laws are not always straightforward. Family structures today are far more complex than they once were. People sometimes have more than one marriage, and they may have children from each of them. The probate courts will still use the intestate succession laws to determine how an estate is divided. However, it is still important to draft a will that can avoid the intestate laws and allow you to decide how your estate will be divided.

What Property is Not Affected by Intestate Succession Laws? 

It is true that when a person passes away without a will, there are still portions of their estate that will not have to go through the probate process. These include:

  • Life insurance policies with primary or secondary beneficiaries. These policies are distributed to the beneficiaries directly and they are also usually protected from creditor claims.
  • Property that is jointly owned. These assets will directly transfer to the surviving owner.
  • Revocable trusts
  • 401Ks, IRAs, and other retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries

Call Our Wills and Trusts Lawyer in Daytona Beach Today 

While the intestate succession laws of the state were created in order to be fair to a decedent’s surviving family members, they also take some control away from you. At Bundza & Rodriguez, our Daytona Beach wills and trusts lawyer can help you draft your will to reflect your wishes and protect you and your family. Call us now at 386-252-5170 or chat with us online to schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorney.



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