When a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse has many decisions to make. It’s important to know a surviving spouse’s rights as those decisions are made. Fortunately, Florida statutes contain provisions stating certain surviving spouse rights.
The first thing to learn is whether the deceased person (the decedent) executed a valid Will. If so, probate assets will pass in compliance with the terms of the Will, subject to statutory spousal rights.
If the decedent did not leave a Will, the estate assets will pass in the following manner:
This is also true if all the decedent’s descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse. For example, if Bob and Mary have three children, the surviving spouse would inherit the entire estate when the other dies because all the descendants are from both Bob and Mary.
Also, if the decedent and surviving spouse both had lineal descendants that are not descendants of the other, the surviving spouse gets one-half of the estate. In the scenario we’ve been following, if Bob and Mary had two children together and Mary had a child from a previous marriage, Mary receives half of the state.
Occasionally, an individual will execute a valid Will as a single person, but then fail to update the Will to include his or her spouse. Florida intestacy laws state that the surviving spouse will receive a share of the estate equal to what he or she would have received if the decedent had died intestate unless:
In addition to benefits related to whether the decedent died testate or intestate, state law provides the following rights to surviving spouses:
Do you question the need for attorney guidance with so many online resources? Because laws and regulations are complex, and because every person has a lot at risk, more people than ever are seeking professional guidance from an experienced, knowledgeable source. That helps explain the rapid growth of our firm. Whether you happened upon this website by accident or are one of the many referrals we receive from a nearly 15-year collection of satisfied clients, our staff can provide customized estate planning guidance for you. Call us. Our number: 1 (772) 218-0480