New York, NY asked in Estate Planning for Florida

Q: My stepfather died in Florida without a will. My mother died shortly before him. Who gets the house?

We always discussed that I would inherit the house and my stepfather has no relatives. I'm told now they're going back to the 1850s to find a relative. How long do companies that search for ancestors have to show a blood heir? I'm taking care of the house at the moment and have sorted through meaningful belongings, but not sure how long before the state goes to 'deceased spouse children'..

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1 Lawyer Answer
Ellen S Deutsch Taylor
Ellen S Deutsch Taylor
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Ponte Vedra, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Without a will, the estate is intestate and must follow the order of succession in the Florida probate code. Did your stepfather legally adopt you? Did he have any natural children or siblings? Are his parents alive? Unless you were legally adopted, you are not entitled to anything and the Probate Code for intestacy must be followed. Oral statements will not usually be admitted in a probate proceeding.

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