Inheritance laws in Florida govern how your remaining assets get distributed after you die. More specifically, they dictate who the assets go to if you die with an invalid will or with no will at all.
Florida inheritance laws are extensive and have many caveats, but here are the most important parts.
Who Gets Your Assets Under the Florida Inheritance Laws?
When a person dies intestate (without a last will and testament) in Florida, assets are distributed based on state inheritance laws. Florida’s intestate succession is straightforward.
Determining who will get your assets when you die depends on marital status, remaining family members, and written agreements.
If you were married at the time of death, your spouse would get all of your remaining assets that are only in your name, or your and your spouse’s name. Everything will go to your spouse even if you were separated but not legally divorced.
Remaining Family Members
If you are not legally married but have biological children, your assets will be split evenly between them.
Stepchildren, children put up for adoption, and foster children don’t automatically fall under this part of Florida inheritance laws. If you have a child that isn’t biological and want them to receive assets after you die, you need to designate them as a beneficiary in your will or establish a revocable or irrevocable trust for them.
If you aren’t married and have no children, next in line for inheritance are your parents.
If you have no immediate family, your assets will be passed to nieces, nephews, then cousins if you don’t have nieces or nephews.
If you have no remaining family, your assets will be transferred to the state.
Inheritance Taxes in Florida
Like most states, Florida doesn't have an inheritance tax.
Even if you live in one of the states with an inheritance tax, only about 3% of estates incur federal inheritance tax. In these states, an estate must be valued at several million dollars to fall into the taxable category.
Who Inherits Assets There is No Will Under Inheritance Laws in Florida?
As mentioned above, if you die without a will, courts will distribute your assets based on which family members you have. However, there is an exception.
If you jointly own an asset such as a business, property, or bank account, the other person(s) listed as an owner will gain your portion of ownership.
When You Die, Will Your Spouse Inherit Everything in Florida?
If you are legally married, your spouse will get everything that doesn’t fall into the following categories.
Jointly owned by someone besides your spouse
Willed to someone besides your spouse
Assets in a trust in another person’s name besides your spouse
Do Florida Inheritance Rights Apply to Children?
Inheritance rights don’t apply to all children. For example, children given up for adoption, stepchildren, and foster children aren’t entitled to any part of an estate.
Contact our estate planning attorney if you’re unsure whether or not your child will inherit any of your assets when you die.
Who Will Inherit Your Debt Under Florida Inheritance Laws?
In Florida, debt is not typically passed to descendants. This is because unpaid debt is taken from the estate before it gets passed to the beneficiary. For example, if you pass with $5,000 in credit card debt and your wife gets your $6,000 stock portfolio, your beneficiary will only get $1,000 after creditors collect get their money.
While your debts won’t get passed along, the inherited assets may become liabilities to some. Let’s say you bought a flipper house and became unable to fix it up and sell it. If you die with it in your possession and it gets transferred to a family member, they are still responsible for mortgage payments and property taxes.
Get Professional Estate Planning Help
If you don’t want the courts to decide who will get your assets when you die, you need to establish an estate plan using this estate planning checklist. Covering all bases regarding property designation protects your loved ones and ensures your belongings end up in the right hands.