Florida Real Property Probate – Law Determining Heirs When There Is No Will

When someone dies without a will, but leaves real property in Florida, Florida law has to determine the heirs of the estate. Below one of our knowledgeable probate administration attorneys discusses Florida real property probate law when there is no will.

Which law determines the heirs of Florida property?

It may seem illogical, but Florida's intestate law always governs estates in which there is no last will and determines who has inherited the real property. It does not matter if the owner never lived in Florida or even never even came to the state. If he or she bought real property in the state and died without a will, the law in Florida will determine who has inherited the property.

How can Florida dictate how much a foreign widow should receive and how much the children should receive? Florida takes the position that, as the site of the real property, it can determine how the property descends in intestate (no will) cases.

So, how much does a surviving spouse inherit without a will, and how much do the children of the deceased person inherit?  See our Useful Links page for a link to the Florida Statutes answering those questions.  A short summary is:

  • If the deceased person left no children or grandchildren  (including adopted children) but a spouse, naturally the spouse gets 100%.
  • If that person left children but no spouse, of course the children get 100% (and remember predeceased children leaving descendants must be included in the division).
  • If the person left a spouse and children, that gets complicated and the answer depends on when he or she died, whether the children were also children of the surviving spouse, whether the surviving spouse has other children not of the deceased spouse, and whether we are talking about homestead property or other property.  The Florida Legislature does a very good job of complicating some things that could be simple, and this is one example.

Contact Our Firm for Your Florida Real Property Probate

If you are the executor of an estate that contains real property in Florida and the deceased left no will, you should speak with estate attorneys familiar with the state's intestate law. At Statewide Probate, a division of McDonald Fleming Moorhead in Pensacola, we offer a free consultation for Florida probate administration cases. Contact our probate administration lawyers today.