If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Florida, you are said to have died "intestate." In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Florida has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Florida intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.
(1) Any part of the estate of a decedent not effectively disposed of by will passes to the decedent's heirs as prescribed in the following sections of this code.
(2) The decedent's death is the event that vests the heirs' right to the decedent's intestate property.
Spouse's share of intestate estate
The intestate share of the surviving spouse is:
Share of other heirs
(1) To the lineal descendants of the decedent.
(2) If there is no lineal descendant, to the decedent's father and mother equally, or to the survivor of them.
(3) If there is none of the foregoing, to the decedent's brothers and sisters and the descendants of deceased brothers and sisters.
(4) If there is none of the foregoing, the estate shall be divided, one-half of which shall go to the decedent's paternal, and the other half to the decedent's maternal, kindred in the following order:
(a) To the grandfather and grandmother equally, or to the survivor of them.
(b) If there is no grandfather or grandmother, to uncles and aunts and descendants of deceased uncles and aunts of the decedent.
(c) If there is either no paternal kindred or no maternal kindred, the estate shall go to the other kindred who survive, in the order stated above.
(5) If there is no kindred of either part, the whole of the property shall go to the kindred of the last deceased spouse of the decedent as if the deceased spouse had survived the decedent and then died intestate entitled to the estate.
(6) If none of the foregoing, and if any of the descendants of the decedent's great-grandparents were Holocaust victims as defined in s. 626.9543(3)(a), including such victims in countries cooperating with the discriminatory policies of Nazi Germany, then to the lineal descendants of the great-grandparents. The court shall allow any such descendant to meet a reasonable, not unduly restrictive, standard of proof to substantiate his or her lineage. This subsection only applies to escheated property and shall cease to be effective for proceedings filed after December 31, 2004.
Inheritance per stirpes
Descent shall be per stirpes, whether to lineal descendants or to collateral heirs.
When property descends to the collateral kindred of the intestate and part of the collateral kindred are of the whole blood to the intestate and the other part of the half blood, those of the half blood shall inherit only half as much as those of the whole blood; but if all are of the half blood they shall have whole parts.
Heirs of the decedent conceived before his or her death, but born thereafter, inherit intestate property as if they had been born in the decedent's lifetime.
(1) When a person dies leaving an estate without being survived by any person entitled to a part of it, that part shall escheat to the state.
(2) Property that escheats shall be sold as provided in the Florida Probate Rules and the proceeds paid to the Chief Financial Officer of the state and deposited in the State School Fund.
(3) At any time within 10 years after the payment to the Chief Financial Officer, a person claiming to be entitled to the proceeds may reopen the administration to assert entitlement to the proceeds. If no claim is timely asserted, the state's rights to the proceeds shall become absolute.
Adopted persons and persons born out of wedlock
(1) For the purpose of intestate succession by or from an adopted person, the adopted person is a lineal descendant of the adopting parent and is one of the natural kindred of all members of the adopting parent's family, and is not a lineal descendant of his or her natural parents, nor is he or she one of the kindred of any member of the natural parent's family or any prior adoptive parent's family, except that:
(a) Adoption of a child by the spouse of a natural parent has no effect on the relationship between the child and the natural parent or the natural parent's family.
(b) Adoption of a child by a natural parent's spouse who married the natural parent after the death of the other natural parent has no effect on the relationship between the child and the family of the deceased natural parent.
(c) Adoption of a child by a close relative, as defined in s. 63.172(2), has no effect on the relationship between the child and the families of the deceased natural parents.
(2) For the purpose of intestate succession in cases not covered by subsection (1), a person born out of wedlock is a lineal descendant of his or her mother and is one of the natural kindred of all members of the mother's family. The person is also a lineal descendant of his or her father and is one of the natural kindred of all members of the father's family, if:
(a) The natural parents participated in a marriage ceremony before or after the birth of the person born out of wedlock, even though the attempted marriage is void.
(b) The paternity of the father is established by an adjudication before or after the death of the father.
(c) The paternity of the father is acknowledged in writing by the father.
Debts to decedent
A debt owed to the decedent shall not be charged against the intestate share of any person except the debtor. If the debtor does not survive the decedent, the debt shall not be taken into account in computing the intestate share of the debtor's heirs.
Aliens shall have the same rights of inheritance as citizens.
[Reference - Florida's Intestacy laws].