Non-Residents Who Own Property in Florida: You May Need a Boca Raton Probate Attorney
Because of our beautiful climate and favorable tax laws, Florida attracts people from all over the country. Many of these people may live down here for only part of the year, while others may spend the majority of their time here. Many people choose to purchase homes or other property. If you own property in Florida yet claim another state as your legal residency, you should be aware that this could complicate the administration of your estate. A Boca Raton probate attorney can help you prepare for any potential challenges so that you can be confident that your wishes will be honored.
Ancillary Probate in Florida
If you own property in Florida and die in another state, you will need a separate probate proceeding in Florida court to sell the property or re-title it in the names of the appropriate heirs. While “ancillary probate” may sound intimidating, the process is nearly identical to the probate process for any Florida resident. However, you should be aware that it will increase the costs of administering your estate, delay the administration of the property, and potentially add other complications. Fortunately, you can minimize these issues by working with an experienced Boca Raton probate attorney.
Personal Representatives in an Ancillary Probate Case
In order to proceed with ancillary probate, a personal representative will be appointed. It is critical to note that the personal representative named in your will may not necessarily be qualified to serve. For example, if your will is being probated in New York, the personal representative responsible for administering your estate in New York may not be qualified to serve unless they are a Florida resident or related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption.
However, Florida courts will allow a personal representative to act in the ancillary probate case if they have been specifically designated for that purpose in the will and are qualified. If there has been no such designation and there are no successor representatives who qualify, then the majority interests in the Florida property may select a qualified personal representative to represent the estate in the ancillary probate case.
A Boca Raton probate attorney can help you select a personal representative to administer your estate with respect to any property you own in the state of Florida. This can save your estate valuable time and money when it comes to administering your assets in Florida.
Options for Avoiding Ancillary Probate
A Boca Raton probate attorney can also help you avoid ancillary probate altogether. Together, you can discuss whether any of the following options make sense for you:
- Creation of a trust, specifically a revocable living trust
- Transfer of ownership into a business entity
- Joint ownership
- Enhanced Life Estate Deed (“Lady Bird Deed”)
Each of these options has unique advantages and disadvantages. It is important to work with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that whichever option you choose complies with Florida law so that your wishes are honored.
Speak with a Boca Raton Probate Attorney from Ellis Law Group
At Ellis Law Group, we help non-residents navigate the complexities of Florida probate law. If you own real or personal property in Florida but claim residency in another state, contact us to explore your options by calling 561-910-7500.