As a Jacksonville, Florida Probate Attorney, I recently was involved in a Duval County, Florida probate case where a mother of 9 children died without leaving a will. The mother owned two homes at the time of her death. Under Florida’s law of intestate succession, each child would be entitled to obtain a 1/9 interest in each property. Because one of the properties was her homestead, the interests in the homestead descended on the date of death. One of the children is in jail and another is a drug addict.
The lack of the mother’s estate planning led to a volatile dispute between the heirs. One of the less responsible family members moved into the house and promptly trashed it. Because the siblings cannot even communicate, much less agree, and the dispute between heirs continues, Duval County, Florida has two additional blighted parcels of real estate in its midst. This is just another horror story I have seen as a Jacksonville, Florida, Probate Attorney.