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What happens if I die without a will in Florida?

If you are contemplating estate planning and the importance of estate planning, you may wonder what happens in Florida if you die without a will. Each state has what are referred to intestacy laws which govern intestate succession if an individual passes away without a will. Intestacy laws determine inheritance rights if an individual dies without a will.

According to intestate succession laws, there are certain classes of heirs that property may pass to. Classes of potential heirs include the surviving spouse; surviving children and grandchildren; parents; siblings, nieces and nephews; and aunts and uncles. Among these classes, there is an order of priority. Typically, a spouse has priority, however, it may be limited to one half of the assets subject to intestate succession if the individual who passed, also known as the decedent, has surviving children.

Not all types of property pass by intestate succession so it is important to know which categories of property are included in intestate succession in your state. Examples of property that do not pass through intestate succession because it is not considered part of the decedent's estate include property held in a living trust; a payable-on-death bank account; and property held in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship.

To avoid having property and assets distributed according to state laws, it is helpful to have a will and other documents associated with an effective estate plan. An effective estate plan can help ensure property and assets are distributed according to the wishes of the estate planner and that their family is taken care of and provided for how they intended.

Source: Estate.findlaw.com, "Intestate Succession Laws by State," Accessed Aug. 21, 2017

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