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Many people do not realize that when a will is submitted to probate or an intestate estate is opened, the probate court only has jurisdiction over assets within the state. If the deceased owned property in another state and did not make provisions for that property to pass outside his estate, the administrator of the estate will be required to open a separate probate case in that state. This type of proceeding is called “ancillary probate administration,” since it is in addition to the primary estate case.
Ancillary probate cases are common in Florida due to the high number of seasonal residents and others who own vacation or rental property in the state. Although it is possible to structure holdings in such a way that ancillary probate is not required—for example, by placing the out-of-state property in trust—the most common means of passing property to heirs will require ancillary probate for out-of-state property.
One common scenario requiring ancillary probate administration involves residents of another state who own a second home in Florida. For example, if a New Jersey resident with a winter condominium in Florida passes his property through a will or through intestate succession, an ancillary probate case must be filed in Florida to distribute the condominium to his heirs and attend to any other necessary business, such as settlement of debts.
Ancillary probate administration can present challenges for the personal representative of the estate. The proceeding takes place in another jurisdiction remote from the personal representative, and the rules and procedures may differ significantly from those in the primary probate case. In most cases, the attorney handling the local probate administration will not be able to assist with the ancillary probate case due to differences between state laws and state-specific licensing requirements.
Working with an experienced probate attorney in the ancillary jurisdiction can significantly reduce the burden on the personal representative. The guidance of a knowledgeable attorney will also help avoid errors that may occur as the result of the personal representative’s unfamiliarity with Florida probate timelines, notice requirements, and other substantive and procedural obligations.
If you’ve recently lost a loved one and are now attempting to manage probate administration in two or more states, give yourself the advantage of an experienced probate lawyer in each jurisdiction. Thomas Upchurch is the experienced Florida estate lawyer you need to contact. He has the knowledge required to guide you smoothly through ancillary probate administration in Florida.
Just fill out the form at the bottom of this page or call 386-320-6169 right now to schedule a consultation.