Florida Ancillary Probate

Elizabeth, a 49-year old Washington resident, died leaving real property including a vacation home in Florida. Jack, an entrepreneur who lived in Massachusetts at the time of his death, left behind an estate that included credits due from Florida residents. And Dana passed away in Minnesota, but had liens on property located in Florida. What do these three people have in common? Their estates will all be subject to a Florida ancillary proceeding.

Ancillary probate or administration is simply a proceeding held in a state other than the one where the decedent resided at the time of his or her death. The main probate action will be taken in the state of residence. However, courts in the state of residence do not have the authority to act on property located in another state.

Why file an ancillary probate?

According to the Florida Probate Code, there are three reasons for an ancillary probate proceeding:

  • When a deceased nonresident owns property in Florida;
  • When a Florida resident owes a credit to a deceased nonresident; or
  • If a deceased nonresident held liens on Florida property.

What’s the procedure for filing for ancillary administration?

As with any probate proceeding, a personal representative asks the court for authority to administer the estate. If the decedent left a valid Will, the personal representative may be a:

  • Resident named in the nonresident decedent’s Will, if qualified to serve;
  • Nonresident who is serving as personal representative in decedent’s primary probate, if qualified to act in Florida;
  • Named successor if the personal representative is not qualified; or
  • Personal representative named by heirs with a majority interest in the property.

If the decedent did not leave a Will, Florida Code provides an order of preference the court will use when appointing a personal representative.

Sometimes the estate has already been fully probated in the state of residence. The personal representative may file an Admission of Foreign Will to record in the Florida county where the probate is located. Once the Will is admitted, the personal representative can deal with the in-state real property.

Estates that fall below certain values may enjoy a shorter, easier probate.

Learn More About Ancillary Probate

It’s not uncommon for people to live in one state and own property in another. If ancillary probate becomes a reality for you or a loved one, you’ll need an experienced attorney on your side.

As a Florida attorney board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates, Attorney John Mangan offers effective probate administration and estate planning to his clients. To schedule an appointment, call us at 772-324-9050 or fill out our Contact Form. Our office is conveniently located in Palm City, Florida.

Written by John Mangan, Esq.

John Mangan, Esq.

I’m an attorney in Palm City, FL, and I serve clients throughout Martin County, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, and Indiantown, as well as those in St. Lucie County, the Treasure Coast, Palm Beach County, and other parts of Florida. The Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., is an innovative firm providing estate planning services to clients in Florida. We focus primarily on wills, trusts, asset protection, guardianship, and probate administration.