In past articles, we’ve discussed probate in depth: avoiding probate, the process of probate, and the horrors of probate. Each time, we’ve discussed what happens when you pass with a Last Will and Testament. But what happens if you pass without one? In the event you pass without a Will and your assets must be probated, your assets pass via intestate succession.
“Intestate” simply means that you did not have a Will when you passed. So, intestate succession is the process outlined in Florida statutes that determines who receives your assets (and how they receive them). Unlike in a Will where you choose who receives what, intestate succession makes those decisions for you.
Part I of Chapter 732 of the Florida Probate Code determines the shares of the intestate estate that the spouse, descendants, and heirs receive. For example, FL Statute § 732.102(1) determines that, if the decedent left no children and a spouse, the spouse receives the entire estate. As you may have guessed, the Florida statutes do not consider the status of relationships—that is, whether you and a family member are on speaking terms. In addition, intestate succession does not provide for stepchildren, foster children, or friends.
If you or a family member are interested in avoiding intestate succession, please contact us at (813) 244-7758 or Ross@RossSpanoLaw.com.