What Happens if You Die Without Writing a Will in Florida?

without will florida

If you have questions about dying intestate, please read on, then contact an experienced Pensacola will and probate lawyer to learn what happens if you die without writing a will in Florida.

What are the consequences of dying without a will in Florida?

If you die without writing a will, your estate will be distributed in the following order:

  • If the decedent has a surviving spouse but no children, the surviving spouse will inherit the entire probate estate.
  • Likewise, the decedent’s children will inherit the entire estate if the decedent has no surviving spouse.
  • If the decedent has a surviving spouse and descendants, the estate will be divided between the spouse and the decedent’s descendants.
  • If the decedent has no spouse and no children, the estate will be passed to his or her surviving grandchildren.
  • If there are no surviving grandchildren, the estate will pass to the decedent’s parents.
  • If the decedent has no surviving grandchildren or parents, the estate will be passed to the decedent’s surviving siblings, then ever more distant relatives.
  • If the decedent has no surviving relatives at all, the state of Florida will inherit the estate.

How do you ensure you do not die without writing a will in Florida?

To write a legitimate will, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Decide what property to include in your will
  2. Decide who will inherit your property
  3. Choose an executor to handle your estate
  4. Choose a guardian for your children
  5. Choose someone to manage children’s property
  6. Make your will
  7. Sign your will in front of witnesses
  8. Store your will safely

While Florida state law does not require someone to retain the services of James M. Burns, Esq.,  you would be well advised to do so.

Why should you consult an Escambia County estate planning attorney when writing your will?

A properly drafted will must contain certain formalities. If requirements are ignored or terms of the will are not clearly drafted in unequivocal language, this may result in extra legal costs, time and stress after your death. For this reason alone, it is best to have your will drafted by a professional who immerses him- or herself in wills and other estate planning matters each and every day. He or she will help ensure that you follow the proper protocols as prescribed by state law, couch it in the clearest, least contestable terms and file it with the appropriate entities. If you ever change your mind about the terms of the will, your attorney can always help you rewrite it to fit your evolving needs. This is too important to leave to chance, so please give us a call today.


For decades, the Law Office of James M. Burns has helped countless people through a wide array of legal issues, including those involving criminal law, family law, personal injury law, and will & probate law. If require the assistance of a competent legal team that can effectively guide you through each phase of your legal matter, you’ve come to the right place. Contact the Law Office of James M. Burns today to schedule your initial consultation.