Who are the legal heirs when there is no Will?

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Who are the legal heirs when there is no Will?

My brother recently passed away without a Will. There is no spouse or living parents. I am his only living sibling. My brother has 2 daughters who were adopted by their stepfather many years ago and they were small. Over the past few years he has had contact with only 1 of his daughters. Who are the legal heirs to his estate. My brother resided in the state of FL.

Asked on August 4, 2011 Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The intestacy laws (i.e. the laws of inheritance that are invoked when someone dies without a Will) relating to adopted children and their birth parents vary from state-to-state. Under the applicable FL statute, the adoption ends the legal relationship between the biological parent and the adopted child. Therefore, a child who has been adopted as no inheritance rights regarding the deceased birth. In other words, they are not the biological parent's legal heir.

Note: If a child is adopted by a stepparent after their birth parent dies (assuming such rights were not previously terminated), the adopted child's right of inheritance from such deceased parent is unaffected by the adoption. 


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