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  • Ryan J. Smollar

Florida Ancillary Probate: A Checklist of Key Documents

People move to Florida because of the climate and weather, many of these people end up purchasing real estate in the state. When these people pass away, their Florida properties have to pass to their beneficiaries, but since these property buyers are not considered Florida residents, their Florida property has to go through ancillary probate or ancillary administration.


Ancillary probate in Florida is required in order for the property to pass to the real estate heirs or beneficiaries.



What is Probate?


Probate is a court process to determine whether a deceased person’s Will is valid or not. The court also identifies who inherits assets as directed by the Will and determines the taxes and debts that need to be paid. This process is required in every state, including Florida.


How Ancillary Probate Works


The ancillary probate procedure is similar to the regular domiciliary probate in Florida. That means there is:

  • Terms of bond

  • Selling of property and paying of debts

  • Notice to creditors

However, the assets can be distributed to either the domiciliary estate or beneficiaries when the ancillary administration concludes. There must also be a personal representative of the non-resident estate in Florida. A personal representative must be qualified to act in Florida for a decedent’s wishes to be respected.


In the event that the personal representative is not qualified, an alternative or successor representative can act as a personal representative. If there is no one qualified to act as a representative, the people with a significant interest in the property may select a personal representative.


Ancillary Probate is not Complicated


Whether or not the ancillary probate matter can be handled easily at a lower cost depends on the circumstances. For example, uncontested ancillary probates are often resolved quickly and cost less than contested ones. The personal representative does not have to travel to Florida for uncontested probate because there is no formal hearing in court.


Instead, issues in uncontested probates are handled through summary proceedings. The more issues there are, the more time-consuming and costly the ancillary probate will be.


Documents Needed When Filing Florida Ancillary Probate Forms


You need the following forms when you are filing for ancillary probate:

  • Letters of administration

  • Last will and testament of the decedent

  • Petition to probate

  • Order admitting the will to probate

  • Two certified death certificates

Other documents that may be needed include:

  • Copy of all Florida deeds

  • Inventory of the property in Florida

  • Name and address of all beneficiaries

  • Copy of tax bills for all Florida real property

Your Will Valid if You Move to Florida?


Some people choose to move to Florida instead of just owning property in the state. Such people often worry that their Wills may not be valid in Florida because they were executed in another state. As long as your Will was executed according to the state’s laws where you come from, it will be considered valid in Florida. Talk to a real estate planning lawyer if you are not sure if your Will is valid in Florida.



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