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You may know how you wish your property and affairs to be handled upon your unfortunate passing. However, your wishes may mean nothing in the eyes of the Florida court. This is if you do not write down these wishes in a valid and enforceable will. Continue reading to learn the consequences of dying without a will and how an experienced Broward County wills lawyer at The Probate Lawyers can shield you and your loved ones from this possibility.

What is the consequence of dying without a will in the state of Florida?

If you die without a will, then Florida law holds that your estate must be taken to probate court. Here, the court will decide exactly who will inherit the specific assets that make up your estate (i.e., real estate property, family heirlooms, money, etc.). It will make these decisions through a process known as intestate succession. Of note, the same applies if you have created a will, but the Florida court does not consider it valid or enforceable.

Florida intestacy laws are aimed at closely resembling how an average person may distribute their estate upon their passing. However, you may have a unique family dynamic that does not exactly line up with what these laws set out. For example, you may have an aunt that you consider like a mother or a friend that you consider like a sibling. But these laws do not prioritize extended relatives or incorporate friends into the succession order. Overall, the consequence of dying without a will is that your estate may not be distributed in the way you would have most desired.

How does intestate succession work in the state of Florida?

Without further ado, the general order that intestate succession may follow in the state of Florida reads as follows:

  1. First, your surviving spouse may inherit your estate; they may inherit its entirety if you do not have any surviving children.
  2. Then, if you do not have a surviving spouse, your surviving legally adopted or biological children may inherit your estate.
  3. Also, if you do not have surviving children, your surviving grandchildren may inherit a portion of your estate.
  4. Next, if you do not have a surviving spouse or children, then your surviving parents may inherit your estate.
  5. Lastly, if none of the aforementioned relatives have survived you, then your surviving siblings may inherit your estate.

In the end, you may avoid this intestate succession altogether if you take the proper measures toward an estate plan. So you must not question your instinct to retain the services of a skilled Broward County estate lawyer. Our team at The Probate Lawyers will work to determine which legal option best suits you.