How to Probate Florida Property Owned By Non-Residents

There are ever increasing numbers of people that own property in Florida, but don’t live there. They’re called “snowbirds”, because they fly South for the Winter to avoid the cold weather. When such a person passes away, their main estate is probated in the state where they resided when they died. In these cases it may be necessary to have a probate proceeding for the Florida property. This is known as “ancillary probate administration.”

When Is Ancillary Probate Needed?

Ancillary probate is usually needed for transfer property such as a house, condominium or car. It can also be necessary for transfers of other high value property such as boats and mobile homes. Florida does not require ancillary probate for the transfer of small amounts of personal property such as the furnishings and content of an apartment, unless it was furnished with highly valued antiques.

Do I Need To Hire A Lawyer for Ancillary Probate in Florida?

Ancillary probate administration in Florida, just like regular Florida probate, has options for Summary and Formal Proceedings. Formal proceedings require an attorney, but you are allowed to handle Summary Probate Proceedings on your own. Summary proceedings are a streamlined process that is much simpler than formal process, making the assistance of an attorney less necessary. In order to qualify for Summary Ancillary Probate in Florida, the Florida property owned by the decedent must have a value of less than $50,000. If the property qualifies, the foreign personal representative will need to file evidence of the original probate in the decedent’s home state and serve notice on possible creditors. If no creditors state claims, the property will be distributed to the beneficiaries. If you’re a personal representative from another state that’s seeking to represent the estate, and you don’t want to hire a Florida lawyer, it’s helpful to hire a legal document preparation service. South Florida Legal Document Preparation Services is the most highly regarded. They’re familiar with Florida forms and can help you create professional looking documents to submit to the court.

If the property owned by the decedent in Florida is valued at less than $50,000 and the decedent died with a will, the personal representative in the foreign probate administration may be able to conduct a “summary” ancillary administration as set out in section 734.1025, Florida Statutes. In order to conduct the “summary” ancillary administration, the foreign personal representative needs to file an authenticated or exemplified copy of the foreign probate administration showing the will and beneficiaries with the clerk of court where the Florida property is located. The foreign personal representative will then need to notice the creditors of the decedent in accordance with the Florida Probate Rules. If any creditors file a statement of claim in the case, the case must carry on as a traditional ancillary administration with a personal representative appointed. If no statements of claim are filed within the appropriate time period, the assets can be distributed to the foreign probate administration to be distributed.

This blog does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

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