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My spouse died without a will in Florida. What am I entitled to under Florida law?

My spouse died without a will in Florida. What am I entitled to under Florida law?
If your spouse passed away without a valid will, you may wonder which assets you are entitled to receive and how they will pass on to you. Florida law outlines specific rights of the decedent’s surviving spouse and other descendants. The Florida law on the surviving spouse's share of the intestate estate was revised in 2011.

How much of the intestate estate the surviving spouse will receive depends on whether the decedent had children and, if so, whether those children are the children of both the decedent and surviving spouse and whether the surviving spouse has any other children. According to Florida Statute 732.102, the surviving spouse shall receive the entire intestate estate (any and all assets owned by the decedent that were not disposed of by operation of law) if there are no other surviving descendants/children.

If the decedent is survived by one or more children who are also children of the surviving spouse, provided that the surviving spouse has no other children, then the surviving spouse is entitled to the entire intestate estate. On the other hand, the surviving spouse is entitled to receive half of the intestate estate if the decedent was survived by children unrelated to the surviving spouse or the surviving spouse has children unrelated to the decedent.

In addition to the portion of the estate you will receive as the surviving spouse, there are other options available to a surviving spouse. For example, the surviving spouse has different options related to the homestead property, has the right to elect a family allowance and exempt property. There are times when a spouse may want to elect to receive an "elective share" of the estate. Although it is helpful to have a basic knowledge of what you are entitled to in the event that your spouse dies without a will, it is also important to note that in Florida, the personal representative must be represented by an attorney, in most cases.

In addition to probate matters, our firm also takes on cases involving wills, divorce, child support, custody battles, relocation issues, domestic violence injunctions, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, and Palatka.

For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com

BY: Stephanie N. Mack, Attorney at Law

October 11, 2012
 
 
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