Understanding the Duration of Ancillary Probate in Florida
If an individual who isn’t a Florida resident owns property within the state and passes away without a proper estate plan in place, an ancillary probate process in Florida becomes mandatory. This is often in addition to the primary probate proceedings in their home state.
Duration of Florida’s Ancillary Probate
The duration of an ancillary probate proceeding in Florida is not fixed and can vary based on several factors. Key determinants include:
- The value of the assets located in Florida.
- The complexity of these assets.
- The level of agreement or disagreement among the beneficiaries.
- The court’s schedule and caseload.
While it’s challenging to pinpoint an exact time frame due to these variables, a typical ancillary probate case in Florida might range from six months to a year.
Opting for Abbreviated Ancillary Probate
Florida law provides a streamlined ancillary probate process under specific conditions. If the decedent’s Florida assets are valued at $50,000 or less, and they had a will that underwent probate in their home state, the process can be abbreviated as per Florida Statute §§734.1025 and 734.104.
For abbreviated ancillary probate, the personal representative of the decedent needs to:
- File a copy of the will.
- Provide a list of the estate’s beneficiaries.
- Publish a notice to creditors.
However, if a creditor responds with a valid claim, the process reverts to the standard ancillary probate. Further, the primary, out of state probate – the domiciliary estate – must remain open throughout the process.
Required Documentation for Florida Ancillary Probate
To expedite the ancillary probate process, it’s crucial to have all required documents ready for the Florida probate attorney. These documents include:
- An authenticated copy of the original will, and certain other documents, admitted in the home state probate.
- A certified copy of the death certificate.
- An itemized list of the decedent’s Florida assets.
- A compilation of claims or creditors against the estate.
Initiating an ancillary probate in Florida is a responsibility that falls upon the personal representative of the decedent. While some probate cases might appear straightforward, they can quickly become intricate. As such, it’s prudent for the personal representative to engage a seasoned Florida probate attorney to navigate the complexities. This expertise can lead to time and cost savings in the end.