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Florida Probate, Trust and Estate Blog

New Florida Homestead Law for Surviving Spouse

Florida's Homestead Law provides unique protections for surviving spouses.

Background

Under the Florida Homestead Law, surviving spouses are entitled to no less than a "life estate" in the homestead property, and depending on the family composition, the surviving spouse may be entitled to the entire homestead property.  The Florida Homestead protections are rights created under the Florida Constitution, to fully protect the surviving spouse after the death of the first spouse to pass away.  

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Formal Notice in Florida Probate

In Florida probate administration, the probate rules permit the use of "Formal Notice" to notify beneficiaries and other interested persons of a specific action or request that has been made to the probate court.  When an interested person petitions the Florida probate court, the interested person send the formal notice to all persons who may be effected by what is being requested.

The persons receiving the formal notice then have 20 days from the receipt of the formal notice to respond to the court if there is disagreement of objection to what is being requested.

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Paternity in Probate Litigation

Establishing paternity in probate proceedings is a common issue, especially with the widespread availability of inexpensive and highly reliable DNA testing.  The rules for establishing paternity in Florida probate proceedings, however, have a number of hurdles, some of which intentionally deny biological paternity from controlling the outcome.

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Florida Inheritance Laws: No Will

When a Florida resident dies without a will (known as intestacy), Florida inheritance laws provide who in the family is entitled to inherit from the estate.   If there is a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse takes the following portion of an estate (Florida Statute Section 732.102):

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