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What Happens If I Pass Away Without A Will?

Whether you have a formally written estate plan or not, everyone has an estate plan in Florida. If you pass away without a will in Florida, you have passed away “intestate”. If you pass away with a will, you have a “testate” estate. The Florida Legislature enacted the Intestate Succession statutes, found in Sections 732.101 through 732.111, Florida Statutes. These statutes specifically detail who will inherit the deceased person’s assets in the event the deceased person did not have a will. In most circumstances, the statute aligns with the deceased person’s wishes.

Of course, who your assets go to if you pass away intestate will depend on the character of those assets (exempt properties, such as homestead) and what your family tree looks like. There are special rules for homestead properties in Florida if you pass away intestate. As a general rule, if your spouse survives you, and all your children are also your spouse’s children, 100% of your intestate estate will go to your spouse. If your spouse survives you, but you have children from a prior relationship or marriage, your estate will be divided 50% to your spouse and 50% to your children. If you do not have a surviving spouse, your estate will be divided amongst your children equally. If you don’t have a surviving spouse or children, the Florida Legislature has a whole statute which details whom your assets would go to, so it does not stop at spouse or children. Those are the most common circumstances, though.

With nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce these days, estate planning has never been more crucial. As you can see, if you don’t write an estate plan, the Florida Legislature has written one for you. If there are children or a spouse you would like to exclude from inheriting your estate, you will need a legally executed estate plan to accomplish this goal, and you may even need a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to accomplish that as well. Either way, everyone needs an estate plan. Please contact our office at 941-748-0550 to schedule your free estate planning consultation today.

Disclaimer: This blog post is general guidance and should not be substituted for legal advice. This blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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