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Florida Probate Blog

Posts Tagged: intestacy

Adopted Adults: Court Applies Statute Preventing Adopted Adults From Receiving Inheritance.

Written by on Dec 11, 2008| Posted in: Estate Litigation

I’m always curious to see how remote the conclusion of a case involving application of a probate rule is to the legislative intent of the rule at the time of it becomes law. One such case recently surfaced in New England where the court’s application of a Rhode Island intestacy statute resulted in what may be considered an unjust and bizarre result. In Fleet Nat’l Bank v. Hunt 944 A.2d 846 (R.I. 2008) the court faced the estate administration of Art Hadley, a self-made entrepreneur and successful New England businessman, who died in 1941; survived by his wife, Frances and his two children, Thomas and Sarah. After Art Hadley’s death, Thomas married Betty, who had two children from prior relationships: Janet Hunt and Lucille Foster. A few years after Frances died, Thomas formally adopted Janet Hunt and Lucille Foster, both of whom were over eighteen years old. In 1993, Thomas […]

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Florida Intestacy

Written by on Oct 31, 2008| Posted in: General

  Should a distant heir have inheritance rights from a relative the heir didn’t even know? In Florida, and many other states, the traditional law governing intestate succession provides an inheritance to the intestate decedent’s “next of kin” without regard to how far removed (e.g., emotionally, geographically or familiarity) the relative taking the inheritance is from the decedent. (See, Fla. Stat. ยง 732.103 allowing collateral inheritance either through the great-grandfather or to “next of kin.” ) This concept is nothing new, it has been with us for ages. For example, the Bible provides an intestacy schedule for the Israelites that allows for inheritance by the closest relative:

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Florida Intestacy and Illegitimate Children

Written by on Oct 24, 2008| Posted in: General

Morality and the Probate Code: The Law’s Treatment of Illegitimate Children and IntestacyIt wasn’t too long ago that having a child born out of wedlock was universally considered taboo, thereby placing a stigma on the child which had significant social and economic implications through no fault, choice, or conduct of the child. Today, evidence suggests that one in three children born in our great country is born out of wedlock. Generally, a child born out of wedlock is also thrust into our world with a legal disadvantage. The child’s intestacy rights are no exception to this general rule. While the intestate succession system in Florida, and most other states, was written to provide an inheritance for a child through receiving the bulk of his or her parent’s estate, non- marital children are treated differently than marital children. Many jurisdictions require non-marital children to jump through many hoops before they can […]

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What is Probate Law?

Written by on Oct 14, 2008| Posted in: General

Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a decedent, specifically resolving all claims made by creditors (for example, credit card companies, hospitals, automobile loans) and distributing the decedent’s property to the beneficiaries named under a valid will or, if there is no valid will, to the beneficiaries named in the state intestacy laws.

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Florida Inheritance: Rights of Child born as Result of IVF after Death of Parent

Written by on Sep 20, 2008| Posted in: Probate Litigation

FLORIDA INHERITANCE Should a child have protected rights to property and inheritance where the child was created as an embryo through in vitro fertilization during his parents’ marriage, but implanted into his mother’s womb after the death of his father? FINLEY vs. ASTRUE A recent case illustrates the difficult policy and legal considerations that factor into resolving these challenging cases: Amy and Michael Finley were married in 1990 and during the course of their marriage pursued fertility treatments and ultimately participated in an in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer program. Deep Freeze In June, 2001, doctors produced ten embryos using Ms. Finley’s eggs and Mr. Finley’s sperm. Two of the embryos were implanted into Ms. Finely’s uterus and four embryos were frozen for preservation. Ms. Finley later suffered a miscarriage of both of the implanted embryos. Life and Death Mr. Finley died intestate on July 19, 2001 and shortly thereafter, […]

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Parents Inheriting from Children in Intestate Probate Estate

Written by on Sep 17, 2008| Posted in: General

Can a Parent Inherit from a Child Whom the Parent Did Not Support? An infant was born severely handicapped as a result of medical malpractice by doctors at birth. The doctors were sued and a judgment was entered against them for almost three million dollars, the bulk of which was placed in a trust for the child’s benefit. The child died on September 2, 2005. The child’s mother took care of her throughout her life and received funds from the trust to attend to the child’s needs. After the child’s death, her biological father sought half of the balance remaining in the trust under their state’s intestacy laws. The child’s mother argued that the father didn’t contribute to the child’s support during her life, and owed unpaid child support, and therefore shouldn’t be entitled to half of the remaining funds in the trust. Further, the child’s mother claimed that even […]

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