A Florida spouse's share in an intestate estate--i.e. when there is no Will.

When a Florida resident dies without a Will, and has a spouse, the intestate share of the surviving spouse depends on the make-up of the decedent's descendants--children, grandchildren, etc.

If a person dies without a Will in Florida, it means that they died "intestate." In that scenario, Florida law determines who will receive the decedent's assets and estate. Usually, the first question to be asked when a person dies intestate is whether the decedent had a spouse or lineal descendants. When there is a spouse, the intestate share of the surviving spouse is as follows:

(1) If there is no surviving descendant of the decedent, the entire intestate estate.

(2) If the decedent is survived by one or more descendants, all of whom are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has no other descendant, the entire intestate estate.

(3) If there are one or more surviving descendants of the decedent who are not lineal descendants of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate estate.

(4) If there are one or more surviving descendants of the decedent, all of whom are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has one or more descendants who are not descendants of the decedent, one-half of the intestate estate.

If a person wants to direct distribtuion of their estate (rather than have the law determine the distribution), they need a Will and possibly a Trust. An experienced estate planning attorney can prepare these instruments for them.

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