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Intestacy in Florida

Probate Information • Dec 25, 2022
post about Intestacy in Florida

Intestacy in Florida means that someone dies without a will. The “heirs” inherit. Who is an “heir“, and what to do about old wills, are keys to understanding who inherits.

Intestacy means there is no will. The Florida estate “goes” to the heirs.

What about old wills?

In Florida, most people open a probate when someone dies. Opening a probate means that you file a Petition for Administration for the estate of the deceased person.

You can have a “testate” estate, meaning someone died with a will. In the case of a valid last will, the estate gets administered according to the will’s terms. The will tells us who inherits. (Note: you can’t disinherit a Florida spouse absent their consent, like a prenup or a postnup or waiver).

Or you can have an “intestate” estate. This means the person died without a will. That’s intestacy. In that case, the spouse gets either half or all of the estate depending on children. See Florida Probate Code 732.102. (Unless there’s a valid waiver or contract). Note: adult children can inherit A LOT and have valuable property rights. Especially for second or 3rd marriages.

But, many times family members come forward claiming there was an old will. What about those old wills?

If you have the original will, you should file it. Where? With the probate clerk for the county of the deceased Florida resident.

What is there are multiple wills? If the wills are originals, file them. Let the probate court sort them out and handle it.

What if you only have copies? That’s a whole different topic. You might want to talk to an estate litigator about probating what’s called a lost or destroyed will. You can read more about the probate administration process by clicking here or by reading the Florida Probate Rules.

Intestacy in Florida — where can I learn more?

There is an entire chapter in the Florida Probate Code on intestacy.

You can read it for free by simply clicking on Chapter 732.

To learn how much an heir inherits, click on two statutes: 732.102 and 732.103.

Remember: a spouse is an heir. She or he will inherit unless there’s a valid prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. Or, some type of waiver of inheritance rights. To learn more about what an heir is in a Florida probate, click HERE for free legal commentary.

You can also read the definition of a “heir” under Florida Probate Law.