What to do if my aunt just recently passed away but left no Will?

UPDATED: Feb 6, 2015

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What to do if my aunt just recently passed away but left no Will?

She has a daughter that she gave up for adoption at birth that was a beneficiary of the life insurance policy, but as there is no will we are unsure as who gets her property. There are no creditors as my aunt paid cash for everything and her eldest sister is a co-signer on my aunt’s checking account. How should this be handled as the daughter that was adopted out as taken my aunt’s ashes, against family wishes, and has installed herself at my aunt’s home. What is our recourse?

Asked on February 6, 2015 under Estate Planning, Florida


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If she left no Will then her estate would pass via the Florida intestacy statute. Now, since her daughter was legally adopted by some one else she would not be entitled to receive anything from her estate.  Adoption severs the ties and cuts the child's rights out UNLESS some one chooses to leave a part of their estate to the child.  Your aunt did with the life insurance and that passes outside probate anyway.  So that is her daughters.  The rest, however, she would not be entitled to under the law. Now, I am assuming there is no spouse and there would be no children so her siblings would inherit everything.  Anything jointly held passed to that person at the time of her death.  Some one needs to be appointed as the Personal Representative of the estate to do anything.  And that person would have the authority to get the daughter out of the house.  Good luck.

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