Individuals can control a wide range of important choices through proper estate planning, from how medical treatment is managed when they are incapacitated to how their property is divided after their passing.
Sadly, far too many people do not understand the significance of estate planning, do not properly execute the documents, or simply postpone until it is too late.
Estate distribution is determined by the law of intestate succession when someone dies without a will, trust, or other arrangement for his or her assets.
Intestate succession laws are designed to ensure that they are provided for by those nearest to the deceased.
The result, however, is not always what you would expect or hope to achieve when the State decides what happens to your most prized belongings.
How Does Florida Intestate Succession Work?
If you die in Florida without estate planning, your assets will pass to a set person or group of individuals depending on your marital status and family relations.
The State ultimately determines who inherits property, cash, and all other aspects of one’s assets and does not take into consideration the strength of the relation of the individuals.
For example, if an individual dies with a will or a spouse and is survived by two children, one of whom was at their side for the past ten years and the other who has not spoken to their parent in over twenty years, these children will inherit in exactly equal shares.
This can be extremely frustrating for the child who put their life on hold to care for their parent while the other seemingly had zero relationship with their parent. Unfortunately, our office sees situations similar to this on a consistent basis.
How To Protect The Estate?
You lose control over who gets your properties when your property goes through intestate succession. But that is not the only danger associated with failing to develop a successful plan for the estate.
Lack of understanding will increase the risk of litigation, which is frustrating, time-consuming, and can drain assets and resources over petty squabbles.
Consult With An Experienced Attorney
If you are not certain if you can inherit the estate of a deceased relative, consult with our Florida Probate Attorneys to inquire what your rights are under Florida Intestate Succession.
To explore your options, contact our Law Firm if you need assistance contesting the acts of an executor or navigating the probate process.