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Intestate succession occurs if the decedent did not leave behind a will. Florida law provides for the fair and equal division and distribution of the deceased person’s property in the event of an intestate estate.

In Florida, intestate estates follow one of three main paths to resolution, depending on whether or not the decedent was married or had children. If the decedent has a surviving spouse, then all property will legally pass to the spouse if the deceased individual did not have a will. Similarly, if the decedent does not have a surviving spouse but does have children, estate assets will be equally divided among the children under a legal provision known as per stirpes.

The situation can become more complicated if the decedent was not married and had no children. In these cases, the probate court will identify what is known as “preference of distribution,” meaning that assets will pass to surviving parents first, and to surviving siblings second.

A wide range of legal issues can arise from intestate succession. One of the most common and basic such issues is the identification of the decedent’s personal representative, who acts as the estate executor for the purposes of probate asset distribution. In cases of intestacy, family members are permitted to petition the court to become the decedent’s personal representative.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough without the burden of intestacy. If you’re in need of legal advice surrounding issues of intestate succession, please contact the experienced attorneys at Pollack Pollack & Kogan by email at, or call 305-373-9676.