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Probate Litigation: How Heirs Are Determined

Date Added: July 20, 2011 06:16:23 PM
Author: admin
Category: Wills and Probate

The typical probate proceeding involves a distribution of a person's assets and repayment of all debts owed. The probate court proceedings are rather strict in places like Florida. Every creditor and heir is allotted particular rights and privileges that must be honored by a court of law.

All details provided for information and educational purposes only, contact an experienced attorney dealing with Florida Probate where required.

In a typical probate litigation proceeding, there are a few areas of a will that may be challenged. One may challenge the contents within the Last Will and Testament. One may challenge a particular provision within the will. One can also challenge the appointment of a executor that handles a will. Lastly, one also has the opportunity to challenge an entire will document.

In some cases, a person will die and have chosen no heirs for his or her estate. Perhaps a decedent had little to no contact with his or her family. If this is the case, then a court will go through the process of determination of heirs. A court is then responsible for choosing heirs of the estate. A lot of times, unacknowledged children come forward and want to claim a part of a deceased person's estate.

In the state of Florida, there are very specific laws governing how an estate may be distributed. These laws can be found under XLII Estates and Trusts. The sections run from 101 to 111. For example, if no heir is mentioned in a person's will, then a surviving spouse may be entitled to an estate. If a decedent has no other surviving descendant, then a spouse will get the entire intestate estate. If a decedent does have surviving descendants, then a surviving spouse is entitled to get $60,000 of the intestate estate and 1/2 of the balance of the entire estate. Property may be given to the surviving spouse to satisfy the $60,000 requirement.

If no surviving spouse exists, then the entire estate passes on to the descendants of the deceased person. If there are no parents or siblings of the deceased person still alive, then assets will go to a deceased person's grandfather and grandmother. If the grandparents are no longer alive, then the assets go to the aunts and uncles of the deceased person.

In some cases, there are children who are conceived prior to a decedent’s death. These children are still entitled to the same amount of funds they would have received if they were born before the death. Adopted children also have the same rights as children who are naturally conceived.

When absolutely no heirs exist, then the estate will escheat to the state. In Florida, the property is used to be paid to the Chief Financial Officer of the state. Proceeds will then be deposited in the State School Fund.