In this week’s blog entry in our ongoing series on basic questions about estate planning in Florida, we turn our attention to the questions surrounding ancillary probate. Like other probate issues, ancillary probate can figure prominently in your estate planning efforts. However, ancillary probate is not an issue that most people have to worry about, because it only applies in limited circumstances. To help give you a better understanding of what ancillary probate is and why it matters, let’s take a look at some vital questions.
What is ancillary probate in Florida?
If you have been following along with this blog series, you already know that every state has its own set of probate laws. These laws apply to the property left behind by deceased people, and determine who inherits that property. Not only that, but probate laws also determine the steps that have to take place before inheritors can take the property left behind by the deceased.
So, should you die leaving behind property in the state of Florida, Florida’s probate laws will determine who inherits that property. But what happens if you have property in other states? What happens, for example, if you have a home in Boston, Chicago, or New York? The answer lies with ancillary probate. Because every state has its own probate laws, and because those laws apply to property within its borders, people who die leaving behind property in multiple states will effectively have to go through multiple probate cases. This is what we are talking about when we refer to ancillary probate.
How does ancillary probate work?
Ancillary probate effectively requires that two or more probate cases take place after a person dies leaving behind property in multiple states. This means multiple court filings, separate attorneys, and additional expenses and time. Each probate case will have to follow the rules established by the probate laws in the state where the property is located. The primary probate case, also known as the domiciliary probate case, will be located and held in the state of Florida. The ancillary probate cases will have to take place in each state in which the decedent left property behind.
Can ancillary probate be avoided or minimized?
Absolutely. Just as you can avoid or minimize the role that Florida’s probate laws play in your estate, you can also minimize, and potentially eliminate, the necessity of having to go through ancillary probate cases in different states. How? Your attorney will explain the options available to you, but rest assured that, with proper planning, ancillary probate is an issue that can usually be avoided completely.
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