The Guide to Ancillary Probate Administration

Under Florida law, when someone who owns assets in Florida passes away while residing in another state or country, the Florida property cannot be distributed through an out-of-state probate proceeding. Instead, a process called ancillary probate administration is required to pass ownership of the Florida assets to the deceased’s heirs or beneficiaries. 

What is Probate Code Section 734.102?

Florida Probate Code Section 734.102 describes the ancillary probate administration process.

Under Section 734.102, ancillary administration is available to nonresidents of Florida who die with any of the following ties to the state:

  • Assets in Florida
  • Credits due from Florida residents; or
  • Liens on property in Florida

After the ancillary administration has begun, notice must be given to estate creditors (unless claims are barred) and to other interested parties. Once all administrative expenses and valid claims against the estate are paid, the court can order that the remaining property be transferred to the home state’s personal representative or distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries of the Florida estate.

What does ancillary probate mean?

Ancillary probate is an additional probate proceeding that needs to be filed when a person dies owning assets in a state or country that is not their state or country of residence.

The primary or domiciliary probate administration will occur in the state or country where the deceased resided, but ancillary probate will need to be initiated to dispose of the property owned in another state or country. Once the ancillary probate process is complete, in Florida, the assets can either be distributed to the deceased’s beneficiaries or transferred to the personal representative in the home state for further administration.

What is a notice of ancillary administration?

A Notice of Ancillary Administration is a notice that a Florida personal representative must file when an ancillary administration has been commenced in another state, as required by Florida Probate Rule 5.065(b). 

The rule requires the Florida personal representative to file a notice when an ancillary administration has commenced that contains:

  • The name and address of the ancillary personal representative;
  • The style of the ancillary probate court and the case number;
  • The county and state where the proceeding is pending; and
  • The date of commencement of the proceeding.

What is a petition for ancillary probate?

A Petition for Ancillary Probate is the legal document that commences ancillary probate proceedings, as outlined in Florida Probate Rule 5.470. It requests that ancillary letters of administration be issued to an ancillary personal representative to provide them with the legal authority needed to administer a deceased person’s Florida assets.

The petition must include specific information and documentation supporting the request for ancillary letters of administration to be issued. Ancillary letters of administration grant the same rights, powers, and authority given to other personal representatives in Florida to do the following:

  • Manage and settle estates;
  • Sell, lease, or mortgage local property; and 
  • Raise funds for the payment of debts, claims, and devises or gifts in the domiciliary jurisdiction.

What is an ancillary personal representative?

An ancillary personal representative is the person who is granted ancillary letters of administration and is responsible for disposing of the Florida property during an ancillary probate administration.

Florida Probate Code Section 734.102 lists the following order of preference for who should be appointed as the ancillary personal representative when there is a will. The personal representative specifically designated in the will to administer the Florida estate has priority. If none is designated, the personal representative in the state of residence, if qualified to act in Florida, should be appointed. If the personal representative in the state of residence is not qualified to act in Florida, an alternate or successor personal representative who is named in the will who is qualified to act in Florida should be appointed. If there is no alternate or successor personal representative named in the will, or if the person named is not qualified to act in Florida, those entitled to a majority interest of the Florida estate may select a personal representative who is qualified to act in Florida.

However, when the estate is intestate (when there is no will) and the home-state personal representative is not qualified to act in Florida, the order of preference for the appointment of a personal representative under Florida’s intestacy statute will apply.

When should I contact a probate lawyer?

If you are the nominated personal representative, heir, or beneficiary of someone who passed away leaving property in multiple states, you should contact a probate lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the situation. A knowledgeable attorney can help guide you through the ancillary probate administration process and ensure that all of your loved one’s assets are appropriately and efficiently distributed.

Have questions? We’re happy to discuss.
Call (786) 761-8333 or email hello@rmolawyers.com

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About RMO Lawyers, LLP

About RMO LLP serves clients in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Orange County, San Diego, Kansas City, Miami, and communities throughout California, Florida, Missouri, and Kansas. Our founder, Scott E. Rahn, has been named “Top 100 – Trust and Estate Litigation” by SuperLawyers, Trusts and Estates Litigator of the Year, and Best Lawyers in America for Litigation – Trusts and Estates. For a free consultation, call (786) 761-8333 or visit: https://rmolawyers.com