Law Offices of Frye & Vazquez, P.L.
Call Today. 305-508-5749 | 877-421-5473

What happens to the estate when there is a surviving spouse?

What happens if a loved one forgot to name a beneficiary for an asset that was titled in his or her name only? Keep in mind that the right of survivorship generally requires property to be jointly titled in the name of the decedent and the surviving spouse or other individual.

Depending on the value of the asset, court involvement via a probate proceeding may be required. However, the good news is that some estates in Florida may qualify for expedited probate, to the extent the total estate value is under a certain value. The particular threshold is set by each Florida county, but a common marker is around $6,000. If that sounds small, remember that state law generally exempts personal property from the estate valuation, as well as appliances and furnishings up to a certain ceiling, and possibly two motor vehicles as well.

But how does Florida estate law regard the decedent’s home? First, special rules apply to the decedent's primary residence in Florida, and it may take court involvement before the real estate can be deemed the decedent’s homestead. 

If the real estate was the decedent’s primary residence, one option for a surviving spouse with children is for the spouse to receive a life estate in the property, and the couple’s children to receive the remainder interest. If the decedent did not have children, the property might simply pass to his or her surviving spouse. Our law firm focuses on estate planning and can explain these special rules in simple language. 

Source: Online Sunshine, “732.401 Descent of homestead,” copyright 2015, the Florida Legislature

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

What Our Clients Are Saying

  • I have known and worked with Austin Frye and his team since 2008. In that time he has helped serve both my business and personal legal planning needs. From guidance on reviewing and keeping shareholder and state documentation up to date... - Robert
  • It is difficult enough to cope with the emotional challenges of closing a parent's estate, and when you are also faced with the issue of your parents having insufficient documentation, and being remote from your siblings… - Zara L.
  • Austin Frye provided legal services to my father while alive and to his estate after his death; when showing the EP docs his firm prepared to other professionals (lawyers, financial advisors, accountants)… - Mark S
  • I've been a client of Austin Frye's for over 10 years. In that time, he's handled my estate/trust planning and asset protection as well as complicated business deals. - Leslie
  • Mr. Frye recently set up a complicated special needs trust for my son and, as usual, did a great job explaining it and in putting our minds at ease about our son's future well-being. - Dr. Howard
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • The Florida Bar 1950
  • CFP
  • Florida Bar Elder Law Member
  • Academy Of Florida Elder Law Attorneys
  • Florida bar Business law Member
  • NAELA National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
Email Us For a Response

Contact Us For Personal Attention To Your Legal Matter

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Office Location

Get In Touch With Us
20900 W. Dixie Highway
Miami, FL 33180

Toll Free: 877-421-5473
Phone: 305-508-5749
Map & Directions