Laws of Intestacy in Palm City

The laws of intestacy in Palm City are challenging for people unfamiliar with legal writing to understand. Because of this, it is important that you work with an attorney who is experienced in handling legal matters such as these.

Intestacy and Distributing Assets Among Surviving Heirs

Intestacy refers to the situation where someone dies without a will. If no will exists, then Fla. Stat. §732 Chapter 1 determines who will inherit.

When someone passes without a will, certain laws of intestacy in Palm City apply depending on the heirs. If the decedent was single, then intestate estate assets are typically divided equally between the decedent’s living children. The share of any living child passes to that child’s children, if any.

If the decedent was married, then other rules may apply. With a few exceptions (homestead property which has unique rules), estates would be divided in cases of intestacy:

  • A surviving spouse with no other descendant or parent – 100% to the surviving spouse
  • A surviving spouse with a descendant of both deceased and surviving spouse – 100% to the surviving spouse
  • A surviving spouse and a parent of the deceased – 100% to the surviving spouse
  • A surviving spouse, a descendant of both deceased and surviving spouse, and a descendant of the surviving spouse who is not a descendant of the deceased – 50% to the surviving spouse, 50% to the descendant of the decedent
  • A surviving spouse and descendants of the deceased who are not descendants of the surviving spouse – 50% to the surviving spouse, 50% to the decedent’s descendants

Stepchildren Versus Adopted Children and Asset Divisions

Importantly, unless a stepchild of a recently deceased was adopted by the deceased stepparent, the stepchild does not typically have any intestacy rights. If the stepchild was adopted by the deceased stepparent, then the stepchild is treated the same as a biological child for purposes of intestacy.

A stepchild may receive an inheritance if the stepchild was adopted by the decedent, who died intestate, or if the decedent named a stepchild as a beneficiary in a will or trust.

In an intestate estate, adopted children are treated in the same manner as biological children for purposes of inheritance. However, if a stepchild was not adopted and no valid will exists, there is probably no entitlement to an inheritance for a stepchild.

Heirs of a Biological Mother and Not Biological Father

While illegitimate is not a term used by the Florida Statutes, the Statutes do define intestate rights where a child is born outside of a marital relationship. Generally, such a child is considered to be an heir of the biological mother and not the biological father. However, some situations can give rise to intestate rights through the biological father. For example, if the natural parents participated in a wedding ceremony before or after the birth of the child, if the paternity of the father was established by an adjudication, or if the paternity of the father was acknowledged by the father in writing, then the child also acquires intestate rights through the father.

Speak with an Attorney Immediately

In formal probate administration, the personal representative must be represented by an attorney. A skilled and experienced probate attorney can provide guidance to his/her client to minimize the risks of fiduciary liability through proper estate administration. To better understand laws of intestacy in Palm City, reach out to an attorney today.