J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Children and inheritance laws

When people pass away, they cannot take their possessions with them. Instead, they can assign who will inherit the possessions by creating an estate plan. Usually, people want their loved ones and family members to benefit from the wealth that they have built up during their lifetimes. Through a will or trust, people can give away their property.

If, on the other hand, a person dies without an estate plan, Florida has laws that assign who should get what share of a decedent's property. These laws are strict and will not take personal relationships into account. 

While people don't want to believe that they could pass away while their children or grandchildren are young, it is a possibility that must be planned for. Children are treated in a specific way when it comes to inheritances. If a person dies without a will or other estate plan, children and grandchildren would take only what the state's intestacy statute allows.

If a person has a will, however, an inheritance can be allotted to a child. If a child is left out of a will, the law will take steps to protect the child. Generally, the court will allow the child to inherit some property if the omission was unintentional. If a child is purposefully excluded from a will, the document should specifically say that the omission was intentional.

 The same is true for grandchildren. A will should specifically say that the grandchild is being omitted from a will or else the court may give an inheritance to the grandchild despite the omission.

People generally want to protect their children and grandchildren in their estate plans. In order to make sure they do so, they may want to consider contacting an attorney.

Source: Findlaw, "Inheritance Law and Your Rights," accessed Aug. 24, 2015 

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