What happens when there is no will?
When a person dies without a Will, they are said to have “died intestate”. The laws that govern the disposition of a probate estate when there is no Will is found in Chapter 732 Fl. Statutes. The spouse’s share of an intestate estate is set forth in Sect. 732.102 Fl. Stat. If the decedent was married at death, the spouse’s share depends on whether either spouse had children from another marriage. If there are no children from the marriage or all the children are a product of the marriage, then the spouse inherits the entire estate. On the other hand, if the decedent had children or surviving spouse had children outside the marriage, then the surviving spouse’s share of the estate is half of the probate estate. (50%).
If the decedent was unmarried then, or the spouse does not receive the entire probate estate then the property descends to other heirs according to Fl. Stat. 732.103, first to the descendents of the decedent. “Descendant” is defined as a person in any generational level down the line, and includes children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The term is also known as “lineal descendant” or “issue”.
If there are no descendants, then the probate assets pass to the decedent’s mother and father equally, or to the survivor of them.
If the decedent had no descendants or parents, then the probate property passes to his or her siblings and descendants of deceased siblings.
The statute further deals with how the probate assets will be distributed in there are no descendants, parents, siblings or descendants of siblings, though this situation rarely occurs.
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