Miami, FL asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Florida

Q: If my now deceased dad have a pending injury lawsuit, does the funds pertaining to the lawsuit goes to his wife?

Or his children?

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1 Lawyer Answer
David Hughes Harris
David Hughes Harris
  • Venice, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If a lawsuit is pending in court and the plaintiff dies, then a Suggestion of Death is filed, an estate created in the Probate Court, and the Estate is then substituted in for the deceased plaintiff.

Only an Estate is legally recognized to proceed as a party under FL law. The Estate is created in Probate Court and a Personal Representative (PR) is appointed by the court to represent the Estate and make decisions. The PR must be a FL resident, adult, and competent (no felonies or crimes of dishonesty, etc.). The PR can be the surviving spouse, surviving child (over the age of 18), or even non-relative.

Depending on the circumstances, there would be beneficiaries of the estate, including spouse and children. Proceeds recovered from a personal injury lawsuit would be distributed by the PR to the beneficiaries according to the decedent's will or intestate (no will) legal requirements.

That's in a nutshell. Of course, consult a lawyer for any specifics as to how the rules would apply in your particular circumstances.

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