Given the widespread appeal of Florida’s dynamic real estate market, it is not uncommon for individuals who reside in a different state or country to own a seasonal or income property in Florida. However, if someone with real property in Florida dies while a resident of another state or country, their estate comes under a particular form of probate known as “Ancillary Administration”.
If you are an heir to this type of probate asset, it is crucial to understand what ancillary probate entails, and to seek out an experienced probate attorney who can help you navigate through this process.
A Quick Primer on Probate
Before delving into the specifics of Ancillary Administration, it helps to have a general understanding of what probate entails. Put simply, probate is a court-supervised process for administering and winding down a deceased person’s estate. A probate court oversees the process of carrying out the deceased person’s Last Will & Testament, such as the appointment of the personal representative, the gathering and distribution of probate assets, and ultimately the closing of the estate. If an individual die without a Will, then the probate court will appoint a suitable personal representative (called an executor in some states) and distribute the probate estate according to Florida’s intestacy laws.
Intro to Ancillary Administration
There are a few different types of probate in Florida depending on the nature and circumstances of the estate.
As previously noted, if a non-Florida resident dies in a different state or country with property in Florida, the estate will undergo Ancillary Administration. If a foreign Will has already been probated in another venue, an ancillary petition must be filed with the court before title to decedent’s real Florida property can be transferred. The petition must include authenticated copies of the Will, the foreign petition for probate, and the foreign court order admitting the Will to probate.
In most respects Ancillary Administration is no different from a “regular” probate, properly called a “Formal Administration”, where a personal representative must still be named to represent the deceased’s estate and distribute its assets. However, if the estate has assets worth less than $75,000, or at least two years have passed since the death of the decedent, the ancillary proceeding can be undertaken as a “Summary Administration”, a shorter and less costly form of probate which typically takes approximately 1.5 to 3 months to complete (though it can take longer if there are several heirs involved, heir disputes, or creditor issues to resolve).
There is also a short form ancillary administration process that is available if the deceased left a Last Will & Testament and the property that they owned in Florida is valued at $50,000 or less. The foreign personal representative must file the Will, a transcript of the probate proceedings, and a list of the beneficiaries. If the deceased passed away less than two years ago, he or she must also publish a Notice to Creditors and satisfy any open claims before the estate assets can be transferred. If a creditor claim is filed, then the short form of ancillary administration must be converted to a formal ancillary administration and a Florida ancillary personal representative must be appointed.
How Farshchian Law Can Help With Your Probate Mater
If you are a personal representative or heir faced with an Ancillary Administration proceeding, hire our expert probate attorneys to help ensure the estate is handled efficiently and expeditiously. Barring a contested Will or other extraneous issues, an Ancillary Administration can often be handled by our attorneys without out-of-state beneficiaries or representatives having to appear in the Florida probate court. To learn more about our probate services, call us at (800) 604-1871, or email us at Probate@JFRealEstateLaw.com. We handle probate, real estate, and estate planning matters throughout the State of Florida.