Must a settlement in a wrongful death case be shared with all relatives?

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There’s a two part answer to that question. The wrongful death suit is not brought on behalf of all relatives, cousins, aunts, uncles, non-dependent children, but on behalf of a class of relatives that are defined in this statute, the wrongful death statute, as survivors. It could be a spouse who lost a mate. The children, the minor children, the adult children. Even over the age of 25, if it’s not a medical malpractice case.

The estate’s personal representative also brings a wrongful death action on behalf of the estate and the estate has a claim for the decedents loss of net accumulations which is a fancy term that means what the decedent would have earned over his work life expectancy. The remaining years of his work life expectancy, less what he would have spent to support his family. That sum becomes an asset of his estate. That asset would pass to relatives if he had a will that included those relatives as beneficiaries. If he didn’t have a will the decedents estate’s recovery for loss of net accumulations would go to his intestate heirs. That is, the heirs under Florida law, who die without a will.

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