What are the Rights of the Decedent’s Surviving Family? (Florida)
The decedent’s surviving spouse and children may be entitled to receive probate assets from the decedent’s probate estate, even if the decedent’s Will gives them nothing. Florida law protects the decedent’s surviving spouse and certain surviving children from total disinheritance.
For example, a surviving spouse may have rights in the decedent’s homestead real property. A surviving spouse also may have the right to come forward to claim an “elective share” from the decedent’s probate estate. The elective share is, generally speaking, 30 percent of the decedent’s assets, including any assets that are non-probate assets. A surviving spouse and/or the decedent’s children also may have the right to a family allowance to provide them with funds before the final distribution of the estate assets and rights in exempt property that will be paid to them instead of to creditors in satisfaction of claims against the probate estate. It is important to note that a spouse may waive rights to an elective share, family allowance, and/or exempt property in a valid pre-marital or post-marital agreement.
In addition, if the decedent married or had children after the date of the decedent’s last Will, and if the decedent neglected to provide for the new spouse or children, an omitted family member may nevertheless be entitled to a share of the decedent’s probate estate.
The existence and enforcement of these statutory rights require knowledge about the applicable laws and procedures and are best handled by an attorney.
WHAT RIGHTS DO OTHER POTENTIAL BENEFICIARIES HAVE IN THE DECEDENT’S PROBATE ESTATE?
Except as provided in the immediately preceding section, a Florida resident has the right to entirely disinherit anyone. It is not necessary to give the disinherited beneficiary a nominal gift of, for example, $1.00.
* Lacombe Avocats offers several types of services related to the liquidation of an estate:
1) a turnkey estate liquidation service and carries out each of the steps for you at a flat rate: 5% of the value of the estate;
2) A support service for liquidators, ideal for occasional consultations: 10 a.m. block at $1500, 8 p.m. block at $2800
3) A written legal opinion service to answer specific questions: from $450.
4) A 30-minute telephone consultation ($150).
Contact us for more information: Tel: 514-898-4029 Email: malacombe@LacombeAvocats.ca