In the last two blogs, we covered the lack of legal rights that unmarried cohabitants have in Florida, including the rights to receive probate assets at one partner’s death without a legally binding will.
The lack of probate rights extends to children of your domestic partner, even if you raised them together. A child of two domestic partners may have legal rights to inherit property if you legally adopted the child. Under Florida law, a child that you adopt is viewed as your lineal descendant.
However, an adopted child is not considered the lineal descendant of your domestic partner, unless he or she also adopted the child. There is a limited exception pursuant to Florida law allowing an adopted child of two domestic partners to receive lineal rights through both parents if one adopted him and the other is the child’s natural parent. Thus, if the child is your domestic partner’s natural child that you later adopted, your child may have rights to intestate property through both you and his natural parent.
The best way to ensure that your domestic partner and your child have legal rights to your probate assets is to speak with an experienced probate attorney to help you create a legally valid will. Our office can help you understand your legal estate planning rights.