Florida residents with assets and valuable possessions may wish to leave them to their chosen beneficiaries after death. Without preparing a will, however, property may pass on to surviving spouses and children through probate, as described on the University of Florida’s website.
A surviving spouse may not receive ownership of real estate unless property titles have a couple listed as tenants by the entirety. If deeds do not contain each spouse’s name, properties may divide between a surviving spouse and the couple’s biological children.
Property division between a spouse and children when no will exists
When the deceased leaves no will, the Florida probate court considers it an intestate case. A judge may then distribute property under Florida’s intestate succession laws. The surviving spouse generally receives $60,000 of the estate. An estate’s remaining value may then divide equally between the surviving spouse and the couple’s children.
If, for example, an individual dies intestate and leaves property worth $100,000, his or her surviving spouse may receive $60,000. The remaining $40,000 may divide in half with the surviving spouse receiving $20,000 and an adult child receiving $20,000. If the couple has two adult children, they may divide the children’s portion equally. In this example, it results in each child receiving $10,000.
Dying intestate with no surviving spouse or children
As noted by SmartAsset.com, property belonging to unmarried individuals without children may pass on to the surviving parents. Without a will, the deceased’s parents may inherit all of his or her assets. If the parents have also passed away, surviving siblings or their children may inherit the deceased’s estate.
Florida’s laws require the probate court to handle the distribution of all assets when an individual dies intestate. Without a will, individuals may not pass their possessions on to their intended recipients.