Florida Probate Code: Intestate Succession and Wills
Intestate succession in Florida governs the inheritance of property when someone passes away without a valid last will and testament.
732.101 Intestate estate.
732.102 Spouse’s share of intestate estate.
732.103 Share of other heirs.
732.104 Inheritance per stirpes.
732.105 Half blood.
732.106 Afterborn heirs.
732.108 Adopted persons and persons born out of wedlock.
732.1081 Termination of parental rights.
732.109 Debts to decedent.
732.111 Dower and curtesy abolished.
732.101 Intestate estate.—
(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.
732.102 Spouse’s share of intestate estate.—The intestate share of the surviving spouse is:
(1) If there is no surviving descendant of the decedent, the entire intestate estate.
(2) If the decedent is survived by one or more descendants, all of whom are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has no other descendant, the entire intestate estate.
(3) If there are one or more surviving descendants of the decedent who are not lineal descendants of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate estate.
(4) If there are one or more surviving descendants of the decedent, all of whom are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has one or more descendants who are not descendants of the decedent, one-half of the intestate estate.
732.103 Share of other heirs.—The part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse under s. 732.102, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, descends as follows:
(1) To the descendants of the decedent.
(2) If there is no 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 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.
732.104 Inheritance per stirpes.—Descent shall be per stirpes, whether to descendants or to collateral heirs.
732.105 Half blood.—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.
732.106 Afterborn heirs.—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.
(4) The Department of Legal Affairs shall represent the state in all proceedings concerning escheated estates.
(5)(a) If a person entitled to the proceeds assigns the rights to receive payment to an attorney, Florida-certified public accountant, or private investigative agency which is duly licensed to do business in this state pursuant to a written agreement with that person, the Department of Financial Services is authorized to make distribution in accordance with the assignment.
(b) Payments made to an attorney, Florida-certified public accountant, or private investigative agency shall be promptly deposited into a trust or escrow account which is regularly maintained by the attorney, Florida-certified public accountant, or private investigative agency in a financial institution authorized to accept such deposits and located in this state.
(c) Distribution by the attorney, Florida-certified public accountant, or private investigative agency to the person entitled to the proceeds shall be made within 10 days following final credit of the deposit into the trust or escrow account at the financial institution, unless a party to the agreement protests the distribution in writing before it is made.
(d) The department shall not be civilly or criminally liable for any proceeds distributed pursuant to this subsection, provided such distribution is made in good faith.
732.108 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 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 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 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 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. Chapter 95 shall not apply in determining heirs in a probate proceeding under this paragraph.
(c) The paternity of the father is acknowledged in writing by the father.
732.1081 Termination of parental rights.—For the purpose of intestate succession by a natural or adoptive parent, a natural or adoptive parent is barred from inheriting from or through a child if the natural or adoptive parent’s parental rights were terminated pursuant to chapter 39 prior to the death of the child, and the natural or adoptive parent shall be treated as if the parent predeceased the child.
732.109 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.
732.1101 Aliens.—Aliens shall have the same rights of inheritance as citizens.
732.111 Dower and curtesy abolished.—Dower and curtesy are abolished.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose
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