Next of kin in Florida are:
- Children (descendants of decedent)
- Uncles and Aunts
- Kindred of last deceased spouse
- Holocaust survivors, if any, descended from decedent’s great grandparents.
To determine the next of kin under Florida law, start at the top of the list and work down until someone in the category exists that survived the decedent. That category is the class of next of kin.
Definition of “Next of Kin” and “Heirs at Law” Under Florida Law
“Next of kin” in Florida is defined in Florida’s guardianship code section 744.102 as:
those persons who would be heirs at law of the ward or alleged incapacitated person if the person were deceased and includes the lineal descendants of the ward or alleged incapacitated person.
Therefore, “next of kin” are synonymous with “heirs at law.”
“Heirs at law” in Florida are defined in Florida’s probate code section 731.201 as:
those persons, including the surviving spouse, who are entitled under the statutes of intestate succession to the property of a decedent.
Who Inherits Under Florida’s Intestate Succession Statutes?
Florida’s intestate laws provide for the surviving spouse and the other next of kin heirs at law as follows:
Under Florida’s intestate succession laws, in there is a surviving spouse the spouse’s share is as follows:
(1) If there is no surviving descendant of the decedent, the entire intestate estate.
(2) If the decedent is survived by one or more descendants, all of whom are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has no other descendant, the entire intestate estate.
(3) If there are one or more surviving descendants of the decedent who are not lineal descendants of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate estate.
(4) If there are one or more surviving descendants of the decedent, all of whom are also descendants of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has one or more descendants who are not descendants of the decedent, one-half of the intestate estate.
The part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, descends as follows:
(1) To the descendants of the decedent.
(2) If there is no descendant, to the decedent’s father and mother equally, or to the survivor of them.
(3) If there is none of the foregoing, to the decedent’s brothers and sisters and the descendants of deceased brothers and sisters.
(4) If there is none of the foregoing, the estate shall be divided, one-half of which shall go to the decedent’s paternal, and the other half to the decedent’s maternal, kindred in the following order:
(a) To the grandfather and grandmother equally, or to the survivor of them.
(b) If there is no grandfather or grandmother, to uncles and aunts and descendants of deceased uncles and aunts of the decedent.
(c) If there is either no paternal kindred or no maternal kindred, the estate shall go to the other kindred who survive, in the order stated above.
(5) If there is no kindred of either part, the whole of the property shall go to the kindred of the last deceased spouse of the decedent as if the deceased spouse had survived the decedent and then died intestate entitled to the estate.
(6) If none of the foregoing, and if any of the descendants of the decedent’s great-grandparents were Holocaust victims as defined in s. 626.9543(3)(a), including such victims in countries cooperating with the discriminatory policies of Nazi Germany, then to the descendants of the great-grandparents. The court shall allow any such descendant to meet a reasonable, not unduly restrictive, standard of proof to substantiate his or her lineage. This subsection only applies to escheated property and shall cease to be effective for proceedings filed after December 31, 2004.