When a Florida decedent has no surviving immediate close family such as a spouse, children, parents or siblings, and dies without making a will, the estate assets then goes to the decedent’s aunts, uncles and cousins of the decedent under Florida intestate laws. If there is a disagreement whether someone is a relative or regarding who has a closer degree of relationship, a kinship proceeding would need to be filed with the Florida Probate Court. The Court will hear the testimony and evidence of the claimant(s) and make a ruling as to who is entitled to inherit the decedent’s property.
Florida Evidence Necessary to Prove Family Relationship
The claimant must establish their relationship to the decedent at the hearing. This can be accomplished in a combination of several different ways such as oral testimony, witness testimony, and presenting evidence of documents such as birth or death certificates, marriage certificates, family photos, divorce decrees, records from the social security office or any other credible public records that can establish that the claimant is a relative of the decedent.
A genealogist, family tree or DNA results can be used to assist the claimant in authenticating their claim. An experienced Florida estate and probate attorney will be able to help you obtain the necessary documentation and represent you at the kinship hearing. The Court has the jurisdiction to resolve kinship matters.
The kinship matter reunites long lost relatives and ancestors and makes sure that the decedent’s assets are distributed to family instead of going to the State of Florida when a person dies without any heirs.
Most claimants involved in kinship matters seek the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable Florida estate litigation attorney to help them receive their rightful inheritance. A Florida probate and estate lawyer understands the Florida probate laws and can help facilitate a kinship matter for an heir.
If you or another family member are involved in a Florida kinship matter, the best advice is to hire a Florida probate and estate attorney to represent you. The attorney will explain the process and keep you advised of the status of the matter. Having the proper legal representation at a kinship hearing increases your outcome of a more favorable result. A Florida probate attorney also handles routine probate and estate matters and estate litigation such as will contests and accounting challenges on behalf of executors, beneficiaries, heirs and other interested parties to a Florida estate.
If you wish to speak to a Florida estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin today.