Apr 26, 2011

Avoiding Ancillary Probate on Out-of-State Real Property

Many Florida residents own real property in Florida and another state. Although that has always been the case for a large number of my clients, it seems like their numbers are increasing. Many  cannot find buyers for their homes "Up  North." On the other hand, I also have clients who own out-of- state property who have no intention of selling it. They go there to escape the steamy South  Florida summers, visit with kids and grandkids and so on.

Whether your out-of-state property is a burden or a blessing at this point, you should be aware of how that property figures in your estate plan. Even if you are an official Florida resident, any real property  you own outside the State of  Florida will have to be probated in the state in which the property is located, with the assistance of an attorney in the other state. This is called "ancillary probate" and obviously adds another layer of cost and complexity to the probate process.  I have a number of out-of-state attorneys  I regularly work with who handle ancillary probate for my clients requiring these services.

Fortunately, there are a number of stpes you can take to spare your family the hassle and cost of ancillary probate. You can, for example, own  out-of-state property jointly with someone else. Another effective and popular method of avoiding ancillary probate: Put your out-of-state property into a properly drafted Florida Revocable (Living) Trust. Any property owned by the trust, whether in Florida or out-of-state, will avoid probate. My law firm has good working relationships with numerous attorneys outside of Florida who can handle the deeding of property into a Florida Revocable Trust. 

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