A: I am very sorry for you loss on the passing of your husband, please accept my condolences for you and your family and this difficult time. You will need to speak with a Florida Probate Attorney and provide additional information and details. Generally, the home (if it is homestead) usually will go to the surviving spouse, but you really need to discuss this further with a probate attorney, it is also important that any hoa fees, taxes and mortgage are paid if you intend to keep the property and want to live there moving forward. Generally, if the property is homestead you can also assume and take over any mortgage and continue paying it. It will be important to determine what type of probate is needed based on the type of assets and overall value of assets that have to go through probate.
A: Very sorry for your loss on the passing of your brother, please accept my condolences and sympathy for you and your family at this difficult time. When someone passes away without a Will then the Florida Intestate Statutes (without a Will) apply, while estate matters can be somewhat complicated based on who survived, what assets exist, the type of assets and their value, the general breakdown is as below. Based on your explanation, it looks like it will be split amongst the siblings whether alive or deceased. I will further add, Florida usually requires a probate attorney in most instances and in these circumstances the court will require one as well. I would encourage you to speak with a Florida Probate Attorney so you can provide additional details and specifics and get more precise advice and guidance related to Homestead, estate assets and the type of probate that will be needed or desired based on all the circumstances. Florida Statute 732 addresses a lot of the probate related issues.
Generally, Florida Statute Sections 732.101-.109 will address a lot of the probate issues, you can look it up online for review and guidance. When someone passes away without an estate plan (Will or Trust), then the estate and assets will usually go to the nearest relative through probate. The order applied in Florida is listed below.
1. The first to inherit is the surviving spouse. There must be a valid marriage to be a surviving spouse. If there are no children, the spouse gets everything.
2. Next in line are the children. If a child dies before the parent, then a grandchild may inherit a portion of the estate. Children must be legally adopted or biological children to fit in this category. Step-children are not included.
3. If the decedent dies without a spouse or children; then, the decedent’s parents are next in line to inherit the estate.
4. If none of the above are alive, then the deceased siblings would divide the estate. (If a sibling is deceased, then their children will split that share equally).
A: I am very sorry for your loss and please accept my sympathy and condolences at this difficult time. You will also want to provide them with a copy of the death certificate. Depending on how small the probate estate is and what needs to be done, you can possibly get the forms online from the Broward County Clerk for Disposition of Property Without Administration if it applies for this case, if this is not the case then the Summary Administration may need to be used if the estate is worth $75,000 or less, you may or may not be able to get these forms online, but this generally starts to complicate things further with the various filings and requirments and in many instances you will want and need a probate attorney. There are also reasons why you would need and want to pursue a Formal Probate if any assets need to be searched for or sought out and for various other reasons. So, generally, you can pull many of the documents often for the first two from the clerk of the court website, but it is often the case that you end up needing an attorney if the probate filing is anything but the Disposition of Property Without Administration, most instances that I see, someone tries to start a Summary Administration but they end up needing an attorney or are directed to get an attorney by the court for various reasons.