It has long been assumed by people that children always receive any assets left from their parents’ Florida estates when the parents die. If there are multiple children, assets can be split in equal shares to avoid problems or arguments between siblings. However, this is far from reality for a great many Floridians. There can be a great many reasons that you may choose different arrangements for how you would like your assets distributed.
As explained by the American Bar Association, if you have no will or trust in place, your assets will be distributed to your heirs. It is important to know that an heir is not necessarily the same as a beneficiary or as a descendant. While these can be the same, these terms are not actually synonymous. An heir can be any blood relative or someone who is a relative by legal adoption.
All heirs are not necessarily descendants as heirs can be parents, siblings, grandparents and others. A descendant can only be a child, grandchild, great grandchild and so on. These descendants may be by blood or adoption but do not include stepchildren unless the stepchildren were legally adopted by you. As a person you wish to receive any type of asset from your estate, a beneficiary can be anyone you wish whether or not they are related to you. A beneficiary need not even be an individual person but can be an entity such as a charitable organization.
To learn more about inheritance options for your estate, please visit the heirs and beneficiaries page of our Florida estate planning website.