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Attorney_Joseph, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 7280
Experience:  I am a private practitioner handling criminal and civil matters for my clients.
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Divorced man is recently deceased, leaving two lineal descendants:

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Divorced man is recently deceased, leaving two lineal descendants: a minor son and a 21 year old daughter by separate mothers. With his divorced mother, he shared a half ownership in a house near Orlando, Florida, in which he resided at the time of his death. At this time it is unknown whether he left a will. The mother refuses to allow anyone in the house and claims she can't yet find a will. The deceased's daughter wants to know what are her rights under Florida laws with respect to entering the house to search for the will. The deceased's father, and possibly others, also wish to enter the house to recover possessions belonging to them. What are their rights? How should they proceed under the laws of Florida?
I am a Florida attorney and I believe I can provide assistance in this matter. I just need a bit of clarification first. When did he pass away? Did he reside in Orange County at the time of his death? Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He died within the last week-funeral is tomorrow. At the time of his death he resided in Oviedo, near Orlando, which I believe is in Orange County.

You have a variety of issues going on here. First is the ownership of the home. As the deceased and his mother resided in the home, they were likely joint owners with a right of survivorship. Meaning, the mother is likely the full owner of the home at this time. Assuming this to be accurate, she certainly has the right to prevent anyone else from entering the home.


The next issue is likely whether a will exists. If the mother isn't saying, or really doesn't know, then the issue will need to be investigated. In Florida, there is no requirement to register a will with the clerk of court will the person is alive. Instead, the survivors will publish a request in search of a will. You might check with the Orange County Bar Association, their website is located here, They can help you with checking with any estate attorneys in Orange County that may have drafted his will.


If a will exists, then that document would control the distribution of his estate. If not, then Florida does not specifically require children to inherit, meaning the children are not required to receive anything from the estate. A spouse has a right to inherit. However, as there is no spouse here, the estate would then pass to any lineal descendants. This, of course, assume any creditors are taken care of as well.

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