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Under certain circumstances, it is necessary to initiate the probate proceeding known as Ancillary Administration for people who did not live in Florida and died owning assets in Florida. For example, if a resident of New York dies owning a vacation home in Florida, the estate may require ancillary administration.
If the personal representative appointed in the probate proceeding in the state of residence of the decedent is qualified to serve in Florida, that personal representative will typically be entitled to serve as such during the ancillary administration process. Ancillary personal representatives have the same powers, rights, and authority as personal representatives in a formal probate administration.
The decedent’s last will generally qualifies for probate in Florida as long as it complies with the execution requirements imposed by the law and the will has been also admitted to probate in the decedent’s state of residence. A will made self-proved under the laws of the state where the will was created will be considered self-proved under Florida law.
Ancillary administration will generally proceed just like formal administration. The personal representative of the estate will be responsible for publishing a notice to all creditors in a local newspaper, and serving a notice directly to all known creditors. After all expenses of administration and claims against the estate have been paid, the ancillary personal representative should seek an order from the court authorizing the transfer of the assets in Florida to the personal representative of the probate administration pending in the decedent’s state of residence, or directly to the beneficiaries in accordance with the decedent’s will.
As mentioned above, Florida ancillary administration is generally necessary when someone dies owning property within the State of Florida. It is, however, important to note that a primary or domiciliary probate must have been commenced in the decedent’s state of residence. Since many banks have merged, ancillary administration is usually only necessary when the decedent died in another state owning real property or a business within the State of Florida.
Ancillary administration is initiated by filing a petition for ancillary administration with the Florida circuit court. In Florida, the petition must always be accompanied by authenticated copies of the foreign last will and testament, the petition for probate, and the order admitting the will to probate and appointing the personal representative for the estate. “Authenticated” in this case means that each copy of each document must have a court seal from the court where the document was filed, stating it is a certified or authenticated copy of the original document. According to §734.104 “if no petition is required as a prerequisite to the probate of a will in the jurisdiction where the will of the nonresident was probated, upon proof by affidavit or certificate that no petition is required, an authenticated copy of the will may be admitted to record without an authenticated copy of a petition for probate, and the order admitting the will to record in this state shall recite that no petition was required in the jurisdiction of original probate.”
If the probate petitioner has been appointed as the personal representative or executor in the foreign state, then when all required documents are filed, the foreign personal representative will be issued Florida letters of administration after a bond, if required by the probate court, is properly filed with the court. This “letters” are simply a piece of paper that says “letters of administration” on top and is signed by the judge and authenticated with a proper seal by the clerk. Once the personal representative of the foreign state receives letters of administration, then the probate process will proceed as any other Florida probate case.
In Florida, there are shortened procedures available when the total value of an estate in Florida is lower than $50,000.00, or when the ancillary administration is initiated more than two years after the decedent’s death. You should always consult with a Florida Probate Attorney to determine what the best option for your particular case is.
If you are in the need of help with a Florida Ancillary Administration proceeding, contact our experienced Florida Probate Lawyers. Call us at (305) 901-5628 or send us an email to Probate@JFRealEstateLaw.com.