Many out-of-state residents acquire real estate in Florida for multiple reasons. Some are called “snowbirds,” individuals who migrate to the state temporarily to escape the cold weather in the winter.
Besides, retirees and real estate entrepreneurs are among the most common buyers of real property in Florida. When a non-resident dies owning property in the Sunshine State, his/her estate will likely go through ancillary probate.
In this article, you will find out all the documents you need when filing for ancillary probate in Florida.
What is Ancillary Probate in Florida? – Explaining the Concept
The term “ancillary probate” refers to an additional probate process required when a deceased person owns real estate or tangible personal property out of his/her primary residence state.
As provided by Florida Statutes §734.102 (1), “if a nonresident of this state dies leaving assets in this state, (…) a personal representative specifically designated in the decedent’s will to administer the Florida property shall be entitled to have ancillary letters issued.”
Generally, when a non-resident dies owning property out of his/her state of residence, the destiny of the property is governed by the local laws of the state where the property is located.
Ancillary Probate in Florida – Appointment of Personal Representative
Florida Statutes §734.102 (1) provide that, if the estate of a non-resident decedent fulfills the requirements for ancillary probate, a personal representative “shall be entitled to have ancillary letters issued, if qualified to act in Florida.”
Otherwise, “the foreign personal representative of the decedent’s estate shall be entitled to have letters issued, if qualified to act in Florida. If the foreign personal representative is not qualified to act in Florida and the will names an alternate or successor who is qualified to act in Florida, the alternate or successor shall be entitled to have letters issued.”
If there is no one qualified yet, “those entitled to a majority interest of the Florida property may have letters issued to a personal representative selected by them who is qualified to act in Florida.”
Florida Ancillary Probate Checklist – The Essentials
It is crucial noting that the following document checklist applies for ancillary probate involving a testate decedent (a person who died with a will in place). If the non-resident died intestate, Florida law has specific provisions to provide a solution.
When filing for ancillary probate in Florida, the decedent’s representative will need a court-authenticated copy of the decedent’s last will, the petition for probate, the court order admitting the will to probate, and Letters of Administration.
Depending on the case, it may be necessary to submit two certified death certificates. Also, if not provided in the petition for probate, it is crucial to add other important information, such as identifying the name and address of all beneficiaries.
Additionally, the process may require the responsible individuals to include the inventory of all the decedent’s property located in Florida, plus a copy of all Florida deeds and a copy of tax bills regarding the decedent’s property located within the state.