As in other states, Florida Probate is a judicial process whereby a deceased person’s assets are properly gathered, inventoried, and distributed to their heirs and beneficiaries. However, given the nationwide appeal of Florida real estate, it is not uncommon for nonresidents to pass away while owning property in the Sunshine State. In such a scenario, the personal representative of the estate must file for Ancillary Administration in Florida in addition to handling the probate process in the decedent’s home state.
Given that the probate process is complex and time consuming enough on its own, the prospect of having to endure a simultaneous proceeding in a whole other state is probably daunting. Fortunately, Jurado & Associates, P.A. has ample experience and expertise in Ancillary Administration. Learn how we can serve as your trusted in-state partner for this specialized area of Florida Probate.
The Basics of Ancillary Florida Probate
Generally, the fate of a property after its owner dies is determined by the law of the state in which it is located—regardless of where the owner lived or was recognized as a legal resident. Hence, what happens to a property in Florida after the death of its nonresident owner is determined by Florida’s probate regulations, namely through Ancillary Administration.
Like all types of Florida Probate, Ancillary proceedings can encompass every type of real estate property, from single-family homes to commercial office spaces and even vacant lots. Basically, any Florida real estate in which the decedent had title must undergo Ancillary Probate, which can make it a potentially arduous endeavor depending on how the size of the decedent’s estate in both Florida and elsewhere.
What Does Ancillary Probate Entail?
Ancillary Probate may undergo either Formal Administration (essentially “regular” probate) or Summary Administration (a comparatively faster and more simplified process), depending on factors such as the size of the estate and how long ago the decedent passed away before probate was initiated in court.
Regardless, an Ancillary Proceeding will require compliance with Florida Probate rules, e.g., the filing of various judicial forms and required documentary evidence with a Florida probate court in the state. Among the more crucial requirements is proving that probate administration is taking place in the decedent’s home state and, if applicable, other states in which they had property. This may include a petition for probate filed with the relevant probate jurisdiction (or a small estate affidavit if no petition was required), the court order validating the decedent’s Last Will and Testament, and letters of administration (or its equivalent) granting the personal representative authority to administer the estate.
In short, Ancillary Probate can be as demanding, time-consuming, and costly as any other probate proceeding. The process could take anywhere from three months to a year depending on the circumstances, especially if the estate is large or complicated, there are many beneficiaries or heirs, and/or competing claims and interests emerge—whether in the Ancillary Proceedings or any of the other probate proceedings you are also juggling.
Serving as Personal Representative in an Ancillary Proceeding
Among the most important aspects of any probate proceeding is the designation of the personal representative—the individual responsible for carrying out the decedent’s Will and winding down the estate in accordance with state law.
However, serving this vital role can become complicated for Ancillary Proceedings, such Florida Probate Rules require that the personal representative be either the decedent’s blood relative or a Florida resident. If the decedent’s Will designated someone ineligible for the role, such as a nonresident friend, you may petition the court to select a qualified person to serve in the role.
Either way, the next steps for the personal representative are the same as in any other probate proceeding: They must locate, gather, and inventory all Florida-based assets of the decedent’s estate and within 60 days of filing; issue a notice to creditors and ensure that legitimate claims are addressed; and, throughout the process, provide an accounting of all costs, fees, and creditors to the beneficiaries.
Partner with a Jurado & Associates Probate Lawyer Today
One of the many takeaways of Ancillary Probate is that it can be a long and complicated process, especially for the uninitiated. Dealing with one probate proceeding in the decedent’s home state is difficult enough without also juggling another proceeding in a totally different jurisdiction. Figuring out what to file and how to make the process more efficient, all while complying with Florida Probate regulations, will be challenging even if you have a probate attorney in the home state—who may lack the expertise and experience of Florida’s distinct judicial procedures and probate rules.
Fortunately, Jurado & Associates can assist almost anyone needing Florida Probate solutions—including personal representatives in Ancillary Proceedings. Our team of Florida Probate Lawyers has experience handling estates of all shapes and sizes as well as various forms of probate administrations. As your in-state partner, we can provide you with the guidance, advice, and representation you need to carry out your duties in Florida and wind down the Ancillary Proceedings as smoothly as possible.