What is a Florida Ancillary Probate?
If someone is not a resident of Florida but they own property in the state, an ancillary probate could be required when they die. The property could be a home, apartment or condo, vacant lot, commercial buildings, or another type of real estate somewhere in Florida. Only property titled in the non-resident’s name would likely require ancillary probate. This process can not only increase the legal costs of probate, but it can also lead to more disputes between beneficiaries. When a dispute arises, it’s necessary to speak with an experienced Pompano Beach estate and trust litigation attorney.
How Ancillary Probate Administration Works in Florida
In Florida, ancillary probate is covered under Florida statutes, Chapter 734. Under Section 734.102(1), when a non-Florida resident passes away and leaves behind assets, liens on Florida property, or has any credits due from a Florida resident, there will be a need for an ancillary probate. Someone who is designated as the personal representative for the Florida property of the estate can get an ancillary letter issued.
If the estate doesn’t have a specific personal representative named, then the foreign one will be the one to handle the Florida property, provided they qualify under Florida law. In the event the decedent passed away with no valid will in place, then Florida Statutes Chapter 733 will apply. This section outlines the order of preferences of who will be named as a personal representative.
Types of Ancillary Probate
Depending on the property, an ancillary probate might be a formal probate administration or a summary administration. A summary administration is the simpler of the two processes. It is only available when the property is worth less than $75,000, all the beneficiaries consent to this court procedure, all the bills are paid, and all assets of the decedent have been identified.
With a formal administration, it’s the same as a regular full probate in the decedent’s home state. The court would need to appoint a personal representative, creditors would need to be identified, notice of the probate would need to be published in the newspaper, and more. This will only be required when the Florida assets exceed $75,000, the heirs don’t agree to summary administration, there are outstanding debts, some assets are unknown, or more.
To conduct a summary administration, the representative would need to present the court with an authenticated copy of the main probate administration from the respective state, which shows the will, names of beneficiaries, and information on where the Florida property is located.
The personal representative is required to follow all Florida probate rules and provide notice to creditors. In the event a creditor comes forward and files a statement of claim, then the matter will move forward as a traditional ancillary administration. If no creditors come forward, the court will allow the property to be distributed to the foreign probate administration which will then be distributed to the named beneficiaries.
Contact a Florida Trust and Probate Litigation Attorney
If you are the personal representative or a named beneficiary for an estate in Florida that is being disputed, you need the experience of a Pompano Beach estate litigation attorney. Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can help.