Florida Ancillary Probate Administration Attorneys
What Is Ancillary Probate?
The beauty and climate of Florida draw thousands of visitors each year, and many – U.S citizens and foreign nationals alike – become so enamored with our fair state that they purchase real estate property here. When these landowners pass away, they are not technically legal residents of Florida. As such, “ancillary probate” or “ancillary administration” will be required to settle this matter.
By definition, ancillary probate is a proceeding that occurs when a person passes away with assets in more than one state, or passes away in one state while having property in another. Ancillary probate administration is required in order for the assets to pass ownership to the beneficiaries.
Non-resident land ownership is not the only basis for an ancillary probate administration. Pursuant to Florida Statute §734.102, ancillary probate will be mandatory if a non-resident dies:
- Leaving assets in this state
- Leaving credits due from residents in this state
- Leaving liens on property in this state
Is a Personal Representative Required for Ancillary Probate Proceedings?
Under Florida law, there must be a personal representative named to represent the ancillary estate. In fact, Florida law is very specific regarding who acts as the personal representative of the non-resident’s estate that lies within the state’s borders. According to Florida Statute §734.102, if a personal representative has been specifically designated in the decedent's will to administer the Florida property, then the decedent’s wishes shall be respected if the designee is qualified to act in Florida. Otherwise, the foreign personal representative of the decedent's estate will have letters issued, if they are qualified to act in Florida.
If the foreign personal representative is not qualified, then any alternate or successor representative named in the will who is qualified to act in Florida can act as the personal representative in the ancillary probate matter. If the decedent’s will does not leave anyone qualified and able to act under Florida law as the personal representative, then those entitled to a majority interest of the Florida property may have letters issued to a qualified personal representative they have selected.
How Complicated Is Ancillary Probate Administration?
Depending on the circumstances, an ancillary probate matter can be handled rather easily and without undue expense. In uncontested ancillary probate matters, the probate usually can be settled quickly and cost-efficiently. Often, the out-of-state client and/or personal representative does not need to travel to Florida because uncontested ancillary probates can be resolved through summary proceedings where there is no formal hearing before the judge and, therefore, no need for their in-court appearance. In fact, our offices often resolve and conclude Ancillary Probate matters throughout Florida without courtroom time.
It is only when controversies arise regarding the property at issue that ancillary probate matters can become more time consuming and costly. Contested proceedings require evidentiary hearings, where documentary evidence and testimony need to be provided to the court to support the disposition of the Florida claims.
Our Clients Are Always Our Primary Focus
Our talented attorneys at Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A. understand that ancillary probate administration can be confusing if you are not familiar with this area of law. Our attorneys have been assisting clients involved in disputes over property, inheritance, and other estate and probate matters since 2002.
If you need assistance from a qualified legal team that will vigorously fight to preserve and protect your legal rights, then do not hesitate to get in touch with our firm in Fort Lauderdale.
If you have comments or questions regarding how a probate lawyer at the Law Offices of Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A. might be of assistance with your ancillary probate administration matter, then please feel free to contact us at (800) 776-3103 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.
Adrian and Jeff, thank you to BOTH of you for all your hard work, diligence, PATIENCE, advice, time, and effort- V.F.
Adrian - you delivered as Dan promised you would.- J.M.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.- J.A.
Thank you for your expertise and guidance in resolving my case.- D.F.