In Florida, it is very common for individuals to own second homes in other counties, or to have nonresidents own investment properties or vacation homes. Unfortunately, we often see situations where these nonresidents pass away without a proper estate plan that takes into consideration these properties, so when that nonresident dies, an ancillary probate proceeding has to be done in the county where that property is located in order to settle that nonresident’s estate.
Ancillary probate is a probate proceeding that is required in any other jurisdiction other where the decedent owned property. Usually, an ancillary probate is needed because the decedent owned property in another county or state, but it can also be needed if the decedent had tangible property, like cars, airplanes, and boats, that were registered out of state.
Ancillary probate can be very expensive and time-consuming for a couple of reasons. First, according to Florida Probate Rule 5.030, “[e]very guardian and every personal representative unless the personal representative remains the sole interested person, shall be represented by an attorney admitted to practice in Florida.” This means, that unless you are the only interested party in a nonresident’s estate, you must hire an attorney to represent you in the probate proceedings. Second, if the decedent owned properties in multiple jurisdictions, an ancillary probate proceeding will need to be done in each jurisdiction.
The best way to avoid an ancillary probate proceeding is by exploring various estate planning options, such as a trust, or will substitutes. Probate proceedings cost your estate money, so by having a proper estate plan in place and avoiding any kind of probate proceedings, your beneficiaries will receive more from your estate.
Speak to an EPGD Trusts & Estates attorney at (786) 837-6787 to discuss your estate planning goals and avoid an ancillary probate proceeding in Florida.
*Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*