Passing away without a will is often referred to as "intestate." This means the deceased person did not create a will or document outlining how they would like their assets distributed before death. In this case, Florida’s intestacy statutes direct who is entitled to the decedent's assets after the court has appointed an executor.
Keep reading to learn more about this process from the team at Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A..
Naming an Executor
Probate is required when someone dies with assets in their sole name that do not have a designated beneficiary. The first step in this process is for an executor to be appointed by the court. According to state law, this individual manages and distributes the deceased person's assets. They must also file all necessary paperwork, pay off debts, and address any tax liabilities associated with the estate.
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Once an executor has been named, they must determine who is entitled to inherit any of the assets from the deceased person's estate, including real estate, personal property, investments, and even bank accounts. In some cases, these assets are split between family members according to state laws relating to intestacy (the legal term used when someone passes away without a will). If there are no heirs to inherit the estate, then it escheats to the state (meaning the state is the beneficiary).
In addition to determining who inherits certain assets from an estate left behind by someone who passed away without a will, it's also important for anyone involved in this process—including family members—to understand potential tax liabilities that may arise due to inheritance taxes or other financial considerations related to asset distribution. Depending on where you live, there may be different rules regarding inheritance taxes, so it's crucial for everyone involved in this process to understand those rules before any of the assets are distributed.
Consulting Experienced Attorneys
Passing away without a will can create complications during the probate process since there isn't an official document outlining how someone would like their assets distributed upon death. It's essential for family members dealing with this situation—or anyone else involved in managing an intestate estate—to understand their rights and responsibilities under state law.
To avoid any mistakes in this process, it is advisable to work with an experienced attorney.