When a person passes away with a will, it must go through probate. Probate is the process where a deceased person’s assets are distributed and their debts are paid.
For property owners, there is a lesser-known process called ancillary probate that is helpful to understand.
Ancillary probate is the legal process that is followed when a deceased person owns property outside of the state they reside in. When a person who is not a Florida resident passes away but owned an asset in the state, like a house or land, ancillary probate may apply. This process is required to transfer the ownership of the asset to the deceased person’s beneficiaries.
Florida has oversight and jurisdiction over the assets, even though the deceased person resided in another state.
Estate administration process
The deceased person’s estate will go through the primary probate process to address the majority of their assets. This includes filing documents, notifying interested parties, paying debts and distributing assets.
A petition for ancillary administration must be filed in the court where the property is located. It must include information about the deceased person including their residence, information about the property and may include a proposed personal representative.
Ancillary probate focuses on the real estate assets in Florida. The court in Florida may need to formally recognize the personal representative who was appointed by the court in the primary probate process.
Then, the personal representative will complete an inventory and an appraisal, as well as pay any outstanding taxes before distributing any proceeds to the beneficiaries.
Ancillary probate can be very complex, but there is guidance available.