Q: Is there any possible scenario that would allow for second cousins to inherit under intestate succession?
If a Decedent died intestate and was never married, had no kids, no surviving parents or grandparents and no surviving aunts/uncles, or issue thereof, is there any possible scenario that would allow for the next of kin collateral heirs (being descendants of great-grandparents, ie. second cousins) to inherit? Or does the state always prevail through escheatment without any further consideration to those other blood relatives who are connected through a more remote common ancestor (great-grandparent)?
Yes, it is possible. The State rarely gets assets to an estate. One thing that would be done in a probate with only distant and remote heirs would be the affidavit of heirs. If an intestate decedent has no living spouse, children, parents, or siblings, intestacy laws provide mechanisms to determine other blood relatives qualified to take the estate. Overall, there is a strong statutory preference to distribute the decedent’s property to heirs, regardless of how remote they may be to the decedent. The estate bears the expense of a search for heirs. However, in those rare cases where no living heir can be located, then the decedent’s estate will escheat to the state. Generally the list below is followed for more remote heirs in a probate.
If there is no grandfather or grandmother, to uncles and aunts and descendants
of deceased uncles and aunts of the decedent.
If there is either no paternal kindred or no maternal kindred, the estate shall go to
the other kindred who survive.
If there is no kindred of either part, the whole of the property shall go to the
kindred of the last deceased spouse of the decedent as if the deceased spouse
had survived the decedent and then died intestate entitled to the estate.
If no one has started a probate and no one really exists or is around to start a probate, then you as the nearest surviving relative/s can pursue a probate. At minimal if you are an interested family member that paid for funeral expenses and or other expenses this would be a starting point in a probate, but not necessary. You really would need to speak with a Florida Probate Attorney with more details and specifics in order to determine the next step and your options.
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