Out of State Probate / Ancillary Probate
If you are one of the lucky snow birds that have purchased a vacation home in sunny Florida but is a resident of another state, then your property may be subject to ancillary probate after you pass away. Ancillary probate is when a resident of one state owns real estate (or some other titled property, such as a car or boat) in another state. For example, if you live in New York but you own a home in Florida in order to escape the brutal New York winters, then your Florida property may be subject to ancillary probate unless certain measures are taken.
Ancillary probate is similar to the typical probate process (called Domiciliary Probate) because certain actions must be taken in order to protect the deceased person’s wishes for their property as well as the interest of any reasonable creditors. Therefore, several documents must be filed in both states. Information must be gathered meticulously by the Personal Representative (or the Executor) of the estate in order to determine the full extent of the deceased person’s assets. Depending on whether the deceased person had executed a Will or not, the beneficiaries of the property will depend. Intestacy laws, the law of succession for persons who die without creating a will, can vary from state to state. Therefore, someone who may be a beneficiary in one state may not be considered a beneficiary in another state.
The Personal Representative should contact both an attorney to handle the domiciliary probate as well as the Ancillary Probate. Although both processes are somewhat similar, they can be extremely difficult to interpret and certain deadlines must be met on time. An attorney must be retained for each state. The Personal Representative of an estate has several duties, but with an attorney’s assistance, those duties may be completed with much more ease.