Losing a loved one can be a difficult and painful time for family and friends. There are many things to consider after someone passes away, including what happens to their bank. If someone dies without a will in Florida, their bank account and other assets will be subject to the state’s intestacy laws.

Dying Intestate

Intestacy laws dictate how a person’s assets will be distributed if they die without a will. In Florida, if someone dies without a will, their assets will be distributed according to these laws. This means that the deceased’s bank account will be distributed to their heirs according to the state’s laws.


It is important to note that if the deceased person had outstanding debts or liabilities, they must be paid before any assets, including funds in a bank account, can be distributed to heirs. If there are insufficient funds in the bank account to pay off the debts, the heirs may not receive any inheritance from the account.

Bank Accounts with Named Beneficiaries

If the decedent’s bank account has named beneficiaries, it will pass directly to those individuals upon the decedent’s death. This setup allows control of the bank account and its assets to pass directly to the named beneficiaries without waiting for the exhausting probate process to be completed. The named beneficiaries must show a valid ID and the decedent’s death certificate to the bank. 

Bank Accounts with No Named Beneficiaries

Bank accounts with no named beneficiaries must pass through the probate process. Probate is timely and expensive, and when no will is present, the court will appoint an estate administrator to carry out its orders under state law. This often triggers family disputes and other problems because the law seldom distributes assets like bank accounts according to the family’s wishes. 

Jointly Owned Accounts

Jointly-owned bank accounts in Florida typically pass to the sole ownership of the surviving joint account owner. This is called “rights of survivorship.” No probate process should be required.

Probate Administration

To access the funds in a deceased person’s bank account, the appointed executor must provide documentation to the bank to prove that the court has appointed them as the estate executor. This documentation may include a death certificate, letters testamentary, and other legal documents. 

Avoid Burdening Your Loved Ones — Create an Estate Plan Today

If someone dies without a will in Florida, their bank account will be subject to the state’s intestacy laws. The funds in the account will be distributed to the heirs according to the state’s laws. This seldom happens according to the decedent’s or the family’s wishes. Complicated family structures and relationships can prolong the probate process while some may contest the court’s distributions. 


A Tampa Probate Attorney from Mortellaro Law is an invaluable resource when faced with controversial beneficiary distributions by the court-appointed administrator of an intestate loved one’s estate. We are happy to consult with you and advise you on your rights and possible courses of action. 


Of course, preventing this scenario and its burden on your loved ones is crucial. Mortellaro Law can help you create a sound estate plan to fulfill your wishes after your death. Asset distribution, including bank accounts, is just one benefit of establishing an estate plan now. Contact us today for a free consultation about estate planning in Florida.