When a loved one dies, there are typically a lot of questions, a lot to do, and many challenges in the near future. You may have to make final arrangements, interact with estranged family members or friends, deal with creditors, and manage legal matters in addition to managing your own grief and your own personal life.

To understand your rights and obligations, you must understand the Florida Inheritance Law and seek assistance from our probate attorney.

Florida Inheritance Law

How Does Florida Inheritance Work?

There are many ways that you can receive an inheritance in Florida depending on your loved one’s final arrangements.

If the deceased left a Last Will and Testament specifying who should obtain what assets, those assets will be properly allocated after the court verifies the validity of the Will and goes through the probate process.

Many individuals believe that simply being named in a will means the assets will automatically be distributed to them after the individual passes away only to find out from a bank or property records division that they have to start the probate process.

The method can be much quicker if your loved one creates a living trust. The successor trustee will, after payment of any final debts and handling any remaining estate issues, allocate assets to the appointed beneficiaries without the need for the probate process.

What Happens When There Is No Will?

If a resident of Florida dies without having made a Last Will and Testament, the rules of intestacy succession found in the Probate Code of Florida will determine who inherits the probate estate of the deceased person.

For more information, please refer to our articles on Intestate Succession as it relates to Florida law.

Does Florida Have Inheritance Tax?

Florida does not have an estate or “death” tax, which may raise the amount received by beneficiaries substantially compared to other states.

Assets earned from inheritance are not considered regular income, so the taxable income is not impacted by them.

However, an estate tax that applies to citizens of all states is levied by the federal government.

The federal estate tax applies only if the value of the whole estate reaches $11.7 million (2021) and the tax borne is paid not by the beneficiaries but by the estate/trust.

With the amount of estate tax so high (which for a married couple doubles to $23.4 million), very few individual people need to think about the federal estate tax (approximately only 1/8,000 US citizens).

Is Probate Part Of The Estate Tax?

The probate process is confused with the federal estate tax by certain individuals. The probate process is used to settle the estate of the deceased by paying any outstanding bills and transferring assets to the heirs when someone dies with assets in their own individual name.

Inheriting Assets Through A Will

Patience is crucial if you are set to inherit assets from a Will. If you have ever heard the expression “the wheels of justice are slow” this very much applies to the probate process.

A Will must go through a probate court after the testator passes away to prove the validity of the Will.

Depending on how many assets there are, this process can take months or even years, whether the beneficiaries challenge the will or not, and which debts the estate must pay.

When the deceased leaves a living trust, the process is also considerably more rapid. Usually, living trusts are excluded from probate, enabling the executor to distribute assets promptly and efficiently.

Speak To Our Florida Probate Attorneys

As an intestate heir in Florida, if you are not sure of your legal rights and do not understand the Florida Inheritance Law, then check with a Florida probate attorney to be sure.

Inheritance law is complex, and without the support of a probate attorney, understanding your rights can be complicated.

To explore your options, contact our Law Firm if you need assistance contesting the acts of an executor or navigating the probate process.

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