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What happens to my Florida properties if I die in another state?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2023 | Estate Administration, Probate |

We cannot predict when we die, let alone control the conditions surrounding our death. This fact can cause worry for people with multiple properties in different states, whether because of work, family or other similar reasons. This worry stems from the uncertainty of what happens to an individual’s properties in one state if they die in another.

Probate for seasonal residents and the like

There is a probate process that applies specifically to this situation called ancillary administration. This process allows Florida probate courts to transfer ownership of the properties the nonresident decedent left in the state to their heirs and beneficiaries. Accordingly, the courts will follow the provisions of the decedent’s will or, if none, the state’s intestacy laws.

Dealing with real versus personal property

When dealing with properties the nonresident decedent left in Florida, the nature of the property matters. If the property is a house, a vacation home or other real property, the interested parties have to file for ancillary administration to validly transfer the title. On the other hand, personal property, like bank accounts and jewelry, generally does not require ancillary probate.

Who administers the estate?

Reasonably, one of the worries of nonresident estate owners or their out-of-state heirs is assigning a personal representative to manage the probate. Fortunately, ancillary administration is similar to other types of probate in terms of assigning a personal representative. The court will issue Letters of Administration to the executor in the decedent’s will or, if none, assign a qualified personal representative.

Ancillary probate can be as complex as a maze

Probate in itself is already a challenging process. However, dealing with an estate’s administration when multiple properties are in another state takes the challenge to a whole new level.

Whether you are an estate owner worried about the future of your properties or are heirs and beneficiaries confused about the ancillary administration of your deceased loved one’s estate, using available probate resources and seeking guidance from a trustworthy legal professional can help you find answers to your concerns.