A Quick Guide to Inheritance Laws in Florida

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Grief can be debilitating. It’s often difficult to find the energy to do even the most menial tasks when someone we love has passed away. Grieving individuals who are left to sort out any inheritance may find dealing with a loved one’s death even more difficult.

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Miami, Beach, Water, Ocean, South, Miami Beach, Florida

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None of us want our loved ones to die, but If your loved one has recently died in Florida and you’re trying to find out some information about what happens to a resident’s estate, then you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading below to find out all about inheritance laws in Florida.

Inheritance and Estate Tax

In Florida, there are currently no state taxes related to inheritance and the estate of people who have died. Remember that heirs to an estate will only receive what’s left of an estate after any debts have been deducted.

Although Florida doesn’t have an inheritance or estate tax, there are some tax filings you will need to complete, including:

  • Federal Estate Tax Return – this is due 9 months after a person’s death
  • Federal Income tax Return – this is due 12 months after an individual’s death
  • Trust Income Tax Return – this has to be completed by April 15th the following year

Dying without a Will in Florida

Lots of people in the State of Florida die without making a will (known as intestacy). This leaves it up to Florida Inheritance laws to decide who is entitled to inherit what from the estate.

  • A surviving spouse is likely to receive the entire estate.
  • If there is no surviving spouse, then the estate will be split between surviving descendants.
  • If there are no descendants, then the estate will be split between any grandchildren.
  • If there are no grandchildren, then the estate will be split between the decedent’s parents.
  • If there are none of the above, the estate will be split between other family members.

Dying with a Will in Florida

Dying with a will in Florida can make sharing out any inheritance much easier. Wills in Florida have to be personally signed in front of two witnesses in order to be considered valid. This means that most handwritten or holographic wills in Florida will not be accepted. However, if an illness or injury prevents you from signing a will, then you can ask somebody else to sign it for you in your presence. Valid wills have to name an executor who is responsible for sharing out the estate.

Wills have to be filed with a court no later than ten days after an individual dies. Once this has happened, one of these three things will take place:

  • Disposition without administration – this means the money from the decedent’s estate pays for their funeral and any other final expenses.
  • Summary administration – for this to take place you need to file a petition stating that you want the estate to be shared out between the decedent’s heirs.
  • Formal administration – this one can take much longer. In this instance, the court will make sure that the will is distributed correctly.

Inheritance laws in Florida can be tricky to understand. If a Florida resident dies leaving a will, their estate will be split between the named beneficiaries. However, if a Florida resident dies without a will, their estate will be subject to Florida’s intestacy statues. Having a valid will in place can help to make things easier for the loved ones you leave behind.