Q: My brother died. He was never married and had no children. Both parents are dead. He had 5 surviving siblings.
One sister predeceased him by 4 years. Who are his heirs with regards to the sale of his home? Are nieces and nephews entitled to money from the sale of the home? The children of my late sister that predeceased him believe that they are entitled to receive a portion of the money from the sale of the property. We all live in the state of Florida. What does Florida law say who are considered the legal heirs of the property.
Yes, the deceased sister's children are entitled to money (assuming there is no will directing otherwise). Specifically they will split 20% (their mother's share if she was living).
When someone dies without a will in Florida their estate goes through "intestate succession." This flowchart breaks down the chain of intestate succession in Florida:
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: You will need to hire a probate attorney to open your brother's estate and get a court order distributing the property to the heirs before you can sell the property. The attorney will explain to you who are the heirs at law. Yes, your predeceased sister's children take her share under intestate succession. The court order that you receive from the probate judge will list all the heirs and their percentage interest, and this order gets recorded in the public records like a deed. Then all of the heirs would need to join together in a sale of the property.
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