Continuing the discussion covering what happens to residents who die without valid wills in Florida, this blog entry discusses the disadvantages to dying intestate. An intestate is a person who dies without first creating a will. A person who dies intestate is subject to the Florida intestacy laws within the Florida Probate Code. The Florida Probate Code sets forth a mandatory order of succession as to which heirs have priority in receiving an inheritance from your probate estate.
If there are certain heirs you would like to exclude from your will (except for your surviving spouse), you should make sure you create a valid will incorporating your intentions. If you do not have a will, the state’s intestacy laws govern who receives your assets, and you will have no control over those dispositions. By drafting a written will, you maintain a significant amount of legal control as to which heirs can inherit your assets. Furthermore, you can also bequeath your property to a specific group if you are unmarried and cannot find any heirs. If you leave behind no surviving descendants, remote heirs, parents, siblings or a surviving spouse, your probate estate may escheat or pass to the state.