Elizabethtown, PA asked in Real Estate Law for Florida

Q: I have a question about real estate after someone dies with no will. (Palm Beach County, FL)

My father died in July. He left no will. While I am his biological child, his parental rights were terminated in the 1970s and I was legally adopted by my step-father. When my father died, he owned a condo, which is not even close to being paid off. He did not own anything else, has no life insurance that I can find, and had very little money. I refuse to probate the "estate" and no one else is going to do so either. The condo association is insisting that I am responsible for the condo, even though my name is not on the deed, and I'm not even legally related to my biological father. All I want to know, I guess, is if I am legally obligated, at all, to deal with my father's estate? I am the only person the condo association has contact info for -- I assume this is the reason they say I am responsible.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Paul Zaretsky
Richard Paul Zaretsky
  • West Palm Beach, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If you were adopted by another person and by reason of the adoption your natural father's paternity rights were terminated, then you are no longer your natural father's descendant for estate purposes. As such, the rights to the condo do not flow to you as an heir and thus you have no liability to the condo association. You can also as a fail safe method, chose to record a notice of non-interest if you do it timely according to statute.

See an attorney if you have any questions. It may be that there is equity in the home. But, as stated, you likely have no rights to the home by the laws of descent.

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