The intestacy laws in Fort Lauderdale exist to guide probate courts in the event that a person dies without a complete will. This includes both situations where a person dies without a will and those where a will does not speak as to the entirety of a person’s assets. A court that applies the intestacy laws makes no consideration for the decedent’s apparent wishes or as to how this distribution will affect the ability of assets to remain whole. The resulting allocation of assets can have a devastating impact on families and cause significant conflict.
Understanding the intestacy laws in Fort Lauderdale can reinforce the need to have a comprehensive estate plan in place. A knowledgeable wills attorney can provide more clarification about these laws and determine how a probate court will proceed if you or your loved one dies without a will.
What it Means to Die Intestate in Fort Lauderdale
Courts consider a person to die intestate only under specific circumstances. According to Florida Statute § 732.101, an individual’s estate falls into intestacy whenever a will does not effectively dispose of property. This may apply to the entirety of a person’s estate or specific portions that a will does not mention.
The simplest application of the intestacy laws occurs when a person dies without a will. However, a probate court may also act to declare a person intestate if a will does not meet the relevant requirements. These include wills that do not contain the proper signatures or documents that are the product of fraud or undue influence.
A well-versed lawyer, such as Marc Brown, P.A., can explain the nuances of intestate laws and how they will impact someone’s probate case.
How Intestacy Handles the Spouse’s Share of the Estate
A decedent’s surviving spouse always receives at least a portion of estate property. FL Stat. § 732.102 states that a spouse will receive the entirety of an estate if the decedent has no surviving descendants outside of the marriage. If the couple had their own children, whatever remains of the estate upon the spouse’s passing.
If the deceased has children from outside of their current marriage, the decedent’s spouse will receive half of the estate. This may result in a forced sale of physical property and allocation of the resulting funds.
Marc Brown, P.A., a driven attorney, can ensure that the surviving spouse receives their fair share of the estate as decreed in the Fort Lauderdale intestacy laws.
Property Rights of Children and Other Family Members
The direct descendants of a decedent may also stand to inherit in the case of a death. FL Stat. § 732.103 states that these descendants will inherit the entirety of the estate if there is no surviving spouse. This distribution occurs per stirpes, meaning that each direct child and their descendants will receive an equal share of the inheritance.
If a person dies with neither children nor a spouse, parents have the right to inherit. Barring this, siblings, grandparents, or aunts and uncles may also inherit in that order.
A compassionate Fort Lauderdale lawyer, like Marc Brown, P.A., can work with the court to make sure everyone receives what they are owed through the states’ intestacy rules.
Contact an Attorney Now to Explore the Intestacy Laws in Fort Lauderdale
The intestacy laws in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere in the state form a complex web of inheritance preferences. Whenever a person dies without a will, or a will is incomplete regarding of the entirety of their property, a probate court will apply these laws.
In general, a surviving spouse stands to inherit at least half, if not all, of an estate. Children only inherit if a person dies without a spouse or if the child is not the descendant of both spouses. If neither a spouse nor child survives the decedent, another family member such as parents may inherit. Reach out to Marc Brown, P.A. today to learn more.