Florida Ancillary Administration
Family members and heirs often learn about ancillary administration after the death of a loved one, who was a non-Florida resident, and when trying to sell the decedent’s real estate or other assets located in Florida.
An ancillary probate (also referred to as a secondary probate) is a probate proceeding that is required in addition to the primary probate proceeding that takes place in one’s home state. When is an ancillary probate or ancillary administration required? It is required after a land owner dies (the decedent) and who is not legally a resident of the State of Florida at the time of their death.
Pursuant to Florida Statute §734.102, an ancillary probate will be mandatory if a non-resident dies: leaving assets in this state, leaving credits due from residents in this state, or leaving liens on property in this state.
A personal representative must be designated to represent the ancillary estate and the representative must be qualified to act in Florida in order to have ancillary letters issued. This can be a personal representative that the decedent has designated in their will, or it can be a foreign personal representative (estate executor) of the decedent’s estate. When a foreign representative is deemed non-qualified to administer in the State of Florida, but the decedent named an alternate or successor who is qualified to act in Florida, the alternate or successor can have letters issued. Otherwise, if the decedent’s will did 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 real property may have letters issued to a qualified personal representative they have selected.
The creditor process in an ancillary probate proceeding is general identical to the creditor process in an original Florida probate proceeding (see Florida Statute §733). In order to transfer ownership of real property in Florida, all creditor claims must be satisfied or barred.
In order to effectuate a valid sale or transfer of a decedent’s Florida real property there are two more options that may be utilized depending on circumstance. First, is a summary administration (Florida Statute §735.201), where the process does not require a personal representative, the property value is below $75,000, and the decedent has been dead more than two years. Second, is the short form ancillary administration (Florida Statute 734.1025) where the process requires that the decedent was not a resident at the time of death, the decedent has a valid will, the decedent has been dead less than two years, and the gross property value at time of death cannot exceed $50,000.
Florida ancillary probate matters can be simple (uncontested proceeding) or complex (contested proceeding) depending on the nature of the real property and individuals involved. If you have questions regarding ancillary administration call today at 954-791-0477.