With so much uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 virus, many individuals have begun reaching out to the Coral Springs, FL estate planning lawyers at Express Law to assist with getting their estate plan created or updated. Having an estate plan not only gives individuals the peace of mind knowing that their assets are going to be distributed according to their terms, but it also allows for them to get their financial affairs in order. Unfortunately, not everyone creates an estate plan which most often includes a will which can make the division of assets rather challenging for the surviving family members.
So, what happens to a relative’s assets when they pass away unexpectedly but never created a will in Florida?
When a person dies without a valid will, they are considered to be “intestate.” What this means is that if they have heirs, their probate assets would be distributed to their heirs rather than turned over to the state of Florida. The Florida Bar says that the state only takes a decedent’s assets when a person passes without heirs.
How are probate assets passed down to heirs?
The Florida Bar says that a decedent’s probate assets shall be distributed in the following order when there is no valid will:
- In the event the decedent was survived by a spouse but no living descendants (i.e. children, grandchildren, parents, etc.) the surviving spouse would receive all of the decedent’s probate assets.
- If the decedent was married and left one or more descendants from both, and the spouse has no additional living descendants, the surviving spouse would receive all of the probate assets.
- If the decedent was married, left descendants from both them and their spouse, and that spouse has descendants from another relationship, then the spouse would receive one-half of the probate estate and the descendants share the remaining half.
- If the decedent was only survived by one or more descendants, those descendants will be entitled to all of the decedent’s probate estate.
- In the event the decedent is not survived by a spouse or descendants, their probate estate will pass to their surviving parents if they are still alive.
The distribution of assets can be a confusing process for many, especially those who are grieving. Therefore, if your loved one passed away in Florida without a will and you want to be sure their assets are properly distributed, contact Express Law to speak with a Coral Springs, FL will and estate planning attorney. The attorneys at Express Law will not only help you understand how assets are passed down but also explain who is entitled to what.
Express Law can be reached at:
2900 West Sample Road
Pompano Beach, FL 33073