Florida Next of Kin Law: what is an heir?
Lots of family members, or kin, expect to inherit when family members die. That’s understandable in some instances. But the truth is that how much kin inherit from a Florida estate actually depends on whether there is a valid will or not. Kin, or heirs, inherit if there is no valid will. They inherit from an intestate estate. We previously provided commentary about INHERITANCE RIGHTS of kin. Candidly, the word “kin” is not really used in Florida probate law. So, Florida Next of Kin law can really be thought of as Florida Intestacy Law.
Florida Inheritance Law
A valid will will be “probated” under the Florida Probate Code. If there is no valid will, then the Florida resident is said to have died “intestate.” Intestacy simply means that there is no will. Or, no valid will. In that circumstance, the Florida Laws of Intestacy tell you who inherits and how much. To know how much you may inherit, read Florida Probate Code 732.101- 732.111. The Florida Probate Code uses the word “Heirs.” See Florida Probate Code 731.201 (20) for the definition of Heirs for Florida inheritance purposes. “Heirs” inherit from an intestate estate. The word “Heirs” is defined in the Florida Probate Code HERE. Heirs or heirs at law means those persons, including the surviving spouse, who are entitled under the statutes of intestate succession to the property of a decedent. The word “kin” under Florida probate law, is really not used any more. What if there is a will contest? If there is a will contest, and the will is not valid, two thing may happen. A prior will may be probated. In that case, the beneficiaries of the prior will inherit. Not the kin or heirs. Or, if there is not valid will, the Florida Laws of Intestacy will apply. In that case, family members inherit.
How Much Do You Inherit in Florida?
Heirs inherit from an intestate estate as follows: First, is there a surviving spouse or widow? If there is, that widow inherits 100% of the estate if there are no descendants of the Florida decedent or dead person. When there are descendants of the decedent, such as children or grandchildren, then the widow inherits either 100% or 50%. If the surviving spouse or widow is also the parent of all of the Florida decedent’s children, the widow inherits 100% of the estate. But, what if the surviving spouse is the 2nd or 3rd spouse of the decedent? Or, what if the surviving spouse is NOT the parent of the dead person’s child or children? In that case, the widow only inherits 50% of the estate. Probate litigator John Pankauski explains that “Determining who inherits is an important part of the probate process.” To read about a Petition to Determine Heirs or Beneficiaries, CLICK HERE. “And” Pankauski continues, “there can be questions about adoption and maternity or paternity depending on many factors. ” In the end, how much you inherit as an Heir or Next of Kin is found in the Florida Probate Code. And, yes, in 2021, many, many Floridians die without a will. Meaning that Next of Kin or Heirs can inherit Millions and Millions of dollars from Florida Probates.