A will is a writing, signed by the decedent and witnesses, that meets the requirements of Florida law. In his or her will, the decedent can name the beneficiaries whom the decedent wants to receive the decedent’s probate assets. The decedent can also designate a personal representative (Florida’s term for an executor) of his or her choosing to administer the probate estate.
If the decedent’s will disposes of all of the decedent’s probate assets and designates a Personal Representative, the will controls over the default provisions of Florida law. If the decedent did not have a valid will, or if the will fails in some respect, the identities of the persons who will receive the decedent’s probate assets, and who will be selected as the Personal Representative of the decedent’s probate estate, will be provided by Florida law.
What happens if there is no will?
If someone dies without a valid will, he or she is “intestate”. Even if the decedent dies intestate, his or her probate assets are almost never turned over to the State of Florida. The state would only take the decedent’s assets if the decedent had no heirs. The decedent’s “heirs” are the persons who are related to the decedent and described in the Florida statute governing distribution of the decedent’s probate assets if he or she died intestate.
If you have questions concerning the construction or application of wills in Florida, you should seek legal advice.
Burney Bivens, P.A. and Associates
1543 Kingsley Avenue, #18-B
Orange Park, FL 32073
Office: (904) 264-3412
Fax: (904) 264-2456