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Petition to Determine Heirs in Florida Probate

Our Attorneys Mar 14, 2021
post about Petition to Determine Heirs in Florida Probate

If a personal representative, or any other “interested” person, is unsure who the heirs are, what can you do? A Petition to Determine Heirs in Florida Probate may be filed. See Florida Probate Law 733.105. Sometimes there is a real need to determine the heirs. For example, the will may be ambiguous or confusing. There may be multiple children, with various spouses, some deceased children with grandchildren, and some adopted persons. A marriage may even be called into question. There may be no will !! So, there are 4 things which an heir to a Florida estate must read. Previously, we wrote about who inherits if there is no Florida will. Now, we’ll talk about the legal mechanism to get an answer for you. But, before we do. If you want to read about estate fights from a top notch Florida probate litigator, John Pankauski, read his book.

Petition to Determine Heirs Florida Probate: Estate and trust litigator John Pankauski likes petitions to determine heirs. He says that they tell you who inherits and how much. But, he warns, be ready for a trial !

Asking A Probate Court to Determine Heirs When There’s No Will

There is a special Probate Rule for determining who inherits. Check out Florida Probate Rule 5.385. If there is no will, then the estate is said to be an “intestate” estate. That means that the heirs inherit under the laws of intestacy. Who is an Heir? “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 intestate succession laws in Florida are found at Florida Probate Code 732.101-732.111. Click to read the definition of HEIRS from the Florida Probate Code 731.201(20). To determine how much each Heir inherits from an intestate estate in Florida, read Florida Probate Code 732.102-732.106.

How Do I Determine Heirs in Florida Probate?

If you still want to learn more about a Petition to Determine Heirs, you can read two appellate court opinions. In 2013, the 1st District Court of Appeal issued the opinion in Cody v. Cody. Also, in 2007, there was another opinion on heirs and Probate Rule 5.385. The 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami issued the decision in Griem v. Becker. If there is any confusion on who takes under a Florida will, or from a Florida estate where there is no will, don’t despair. Fla. Statute. 733.105 provides the mechanism to ask the Probate Court who inherits.