What Happens to My Property If I Die Without a Last Will and Testament?

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probate lawyer

We recommend that all adults have a Last Will and Testament.  It is always smarter to plan for the future than to fail to plan.  Failure to plan leaves your loved ones in confusion about your wishes.  No one wants to think about what will happen to their property after they are gone, but it is necessary to do so. 

People do sometimes fail to execute a Last Will and Testament, which leads to the question of what happens to their property if they pass away.  Without a Will to direct the probate process, the State of Florida has laws in place to direct the distribution of property.  

In this article, we will discuss how your property will be distributed if you die without a Will.  Remember, we cannot stress enough the importance of having a valid Last Will and Testament, and experienced probate lawyers in Stuart can prepare one for you.

If, after reading this article, you have additional questions about your own situation, then we welcome you to contact probate lawyers in Stuart, FL at Crary Buchanan.  At Crary Buchanan, we are proud of our standard of excellence, which has allowed us to thrive as one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast.  

Our probate attorneys in Stuart, FL are passionate about giving you the highest quality representation.  Call us today at 772-287-2600, or schedule a free estate consult online with our online contact form.

1. What Property Will Likely be Part of Probate?

If you do not have a Last Will and Testament, much of your property will still have to go through the probate process and be distributed according to Florida law.  Any property that you own by yourself is part of your estate.  If you own property jointly with right of survivorship, however, then it will not be part of the property in probate.

Jointly owned property and any other property that has a designated beneficiary will not be part of your estate, and thus will be distributed according to the laws governing that document or account.  For example, if you own your home jointly with the right of survivorship with your spouse, then your home will immediately belong to your spouse upon your death.  This applies to survivorship joint bank accounts and other survivorship accounts as well.

What is part of your estate and what is not can get confusing, because if something is not owned with right of survivorship, then it will be part of the estate.  Knowledgeable probate lawyers in Stuart can answer any questions you may have.

2. How is My Property Distributed Without a Will?

If you do not have a valid Last Will and Testament, then you are said to have died “intestate,” and your property will go to your family in the order directed by Florida law, which says if you die with:

1. Children and no spouse, then your property goes to your children; and
2. A spouse but no children, then your property goes to your spouse.

But, if you have a spouse, and you have children with that spouse without having children with anyone else, then your spouse inherits all your property.

However, if you and your spouse have children together, and your spouse has children with someone else, then your spouse inherits 1/2 of your property, and your children inherit 1/2 of your property.

That same division of property applies when you die with a spouse and you have children with someone else.  Your spouse inherits 1/2 of your property, and your children inherit 1/2.

If you do not have a spouse or children, then your parents will inherit all of your property.  If you do not have spouse, descendants, or parents, then your siblings will inherit your property. 

Have Your Questions Answered by Probate Attorneys in Stuart, FL.

Failing to prepare a Last Will and Testament makes the probate process more difficult, and your wishes will not be carried out by the courts.  You need to plan and have a good attorney on your side.

At Crary Buchanan, we are committed to providing clients with exceptional service in every aspect of probate law. You can depend upon our 85 years of experience in the Florida legal industry.  We can help you decide what is best for you and assist you throughout the entire process.

Our legal team is passionate about maintaining the high standards of professionalism and legal service that were established and practiced by founding attorneys Evans Crary Sr. and Evans Crary Jr.  Evans Crary Sr. began his law practice in Stuart in 1927 at a time when Martin County was only two years old.  He became a municipal judge at the age of 25 and served as County Attorney for 23 years. 

During his time as County Attorney, he was elected to represent Martin County in the Florida Legislature.  In 1945 he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives.  He served in the House for nine years and even served as Speaker of the House before he went on to become a member of the Florida Senate.  Today, the Crary Buchanan law firm continues to practice the example of integrity, professionalism, energy, and devotion that was clearly illustrated in the lives of both Evans Crary Sr. and Evans Crary Jr.

Our clients are more than case numbers; they are people. We recognize that you are an individual with unique needs and expectations.  Our team is here to meet your need and exceed your expectations.  When you work with us, you can have confidence that a caring legal advocate is on your side.

If you have more questions or want dedicated probate attorneys in Stuart to help you, call 772-287-2600 or schedule a free consult online with our online contact form.  You can always depend on Crary Buchanan for community, experience, and trust.  Call today.  

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.  You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post.  No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied.  If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.