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Inheritance laws in the U.S.

Inheritance is the passing on of property to the heir of a recently deceased person. A descendant's right to inherit property depends on the inheritance laws of the state. Spouses, children and grandchildren of a deceased person have the right to claim an inheritance. The state awards inheritance according to the inheritance laws.

There are two types of laws being followed by different states around the U.S.

  • Community Property Law: Community property is property acquired by an individual during a marriage. This includes their salaries, savings, or any other property bought after marriage. The spouse owns one-half of all community property. It is impossible to deny one-half of the community property to your spouse unless stated in a prenuptial agreement.
  • Common Law: The spouse is not entitled to one-half of all the property acquired after marriage. Ownership is determined by establishing which spouse was named in the agreement. Common Law protects spouses from complete disinheritance, and makes sure they receive at least some inheritance.

Florida's Law for inheritance follows the common law. If the deceased person left behind a will, the property is transferred to all the beneficiaries stated in the document. In cases where there is no will present, the state distributes the persons wealth and property according to the Florida intestacy statutes.

The spouse of a deceased person has the most rights when it comes to inheriting their property. But in cases where divorce has already taken place, it is advised to renew your will to make sure there are no unintentional gifts for your ex-spouse. Children are not legally bound to inherit a person's property, though the state might intervene if a child is being omitted unintentionally. If the will clearly states that a certain child must be omitted, there is little the state can do. Grandchildren have no direct right to inherit their grandparents' property, unless both their parents are deceased, making them the sole descendant.

Inheritance matters are extremely complicated and may be difficult to understand. If you are involved in an inheritance dispute, it is best to contact an experienced attorney to assist you and get a decision in your favor.

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