Who are the legal heirs when there is no Will?

UPDATED: Aug 4, 2011

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Who are the legal heirs when there is no Will?

My brother recently passed away without a Will. There is no spouse or living parents. I am his only living sibling. My brother has 2 daughters who were adopted by their stepfather many years ago and they were small. Over the past few years he has had contact with only 1 of his daughters. Who are the legal heirs to his estate. My brother resided in the state of FL.

Asked on August 4, 2011 Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The intestacy laws (i.e. the laws of inheritance that are invoked when someone dies without a Will) relating to adopted children and their birth parents vary from state-to-state. Under the applicable FL statute, the adoption ends the legal relationship between the biological parent and the adopted child. Therefore, a child who has been adopted as no inheritance rights regarding the deceased birth. In other words, they are not the biological parent's legal heir.

Note: If a child is adopted by a stepparent after their birth parent dies (assuming such rights were not previously terminated), the adopted child's right of inheritance from such deceased parent is unaffected by the adoption. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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