If an accident or other catastrophe claims your life before you write your last will and testament, Florida’s intestacy laws will, in effect, write your will for you.
As the Florida Bar points out, this means that your closest relatives will receive statutorily imposed percentages of your probate estate.
If you have a surviving spouse
If married at the time you die intestate and your spouse survives you, he or she will receive 100% of your assets, assuming that neither of you has any descendants by this or any other relationship.
If, however, you leave one or more surviving children in addition to a surviving spouse, your probate estate will go 50% to him or her and 50% divided equally among your surviving children.
Keep in mind that Florida’s intestacy laws define “child” as any child you adopted, as well as any child of which you are the biological parent. Also keep in mind that if one of your children dies before you do, but had children who survive you, these grandchildren receive the share of your estate that would have gone to their parent had he or she survived you.
If you have no surviving spouse
If your spouse does not survive you, or if you had no spouse at the time of your death, but you leave surviving children, they inherit your probate assets in equal portions. Again, the surviving children of a child who predeceased you will take their parent’s place in this distribution.
If you have no surviving spouse or children
If you leave no surviving spouse or children, but your parents survive you, they will inherit 100% of your probate estate. If they, too, fail to survive you, your surviving siblings will receive equal portions of your estate.