An ancillary administration is needed when the person who has passed away lives in another state but owns property in Florida. With all the snowbirds who have second homes in the Sunshine State, this is a common form of probate here.
Primary probates are always filed in the state where a person officially lives (that is, where they work, vote, have a driver’s license, and the like). So if someone lives in New Jersey and needs to have their estate probated, their primary probate will take place in New Jersey, even if they were at their second home in Florida when they died.
But the estate in another part of the country cannot probate their Florida property. In order to legally transfer the property (or their portion of the property, if it is held “in common” with another) to their heirs, an ancillary administration must be done in Florida.
To begin the process, an estate must be opened in the state where the owner lived. Then a probate attorney can open the ancillary probate in Florida.
The probate attorney files an authenticated copy of the will that was filed in the home state, along with the probate petition filed in that state (assuming that state requires one), the death certificate and other documents. If the personal representative serving in the home state meets the requirements for a PR under Florida law (e.g., they must be a relative of the deceased, or a resident of Florida), the court will appoint them as the personal representative in the ancillary proceedings, too.
The best way to avoid needing an ancillary probate for your own property in Florida, if you are a resident elsewhere, is to be sure the title of the property is a “joint tenant with right of survivorship” with someone else, or some form of a “life estate” deed, or that it is placed inside a revocable living trust.
Hiring an experienced probate attorney is necessary to smoothly discharging an ancillary administration in the state of Florida. The Law Office of Gary Landau, rated 10 out of 10 on the legal website AVVO, has successfully practiced Florida probate law for more than 20 years. The firm can handle probates in any county in the state of Florida. Contact us by phone or email for a FREE consultation to learn more about our firm or what we can specifically do for you. Attorney Gary Landau personally returns all calls to him.