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What Happens When a Florida Resident Dies Without a Will?

James W. Martin

When a Florida resident dies without a will, they are said to die intestate. When a Florida resident dies with a will, they are said to be testate. A will names beneficiaries who receive the estate assets after payment of expenses, taxes and claims and names a personal representative (PR) to collect the assets, pay the bills, and distribute the estate. So when someone dies in Florida without a will who gets the assets and who acts as PR?

The answer is in the Florida Probate Code. If the Florida resident left a spouse and children, then they are the beneficiaries. If not, then it passes to the resident’s parents. If they are deceased, then it passes to siblings and descendants of deceased siblings.

The PR of an intestate estate is generally the spouse, but if none then the children and on down in the order of beneficiaries.

So, it’s always best to make a will while you’re alive and well so that the beneficiaries and PR are the persons you want them to be.

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