By: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
June 15, 2017
As the personal representative of an estate, you have the responsibility of properly managing and distributing their assets through the court system. The probate process isn’t always easy to navigate, however, and waiting on creditors can cause it to stretch out for months – or longer.
Usually, the personal representative must follow the rules of probate and probate administration that are laid out by the state where the decedent resided. In other words, if the decedent lived in Florida, you’ll be following Florida probate rules.
However, if the decedent has a larger estate or has retired recently, some of their assets may be held in other states. When a decedent has assets (typically real estate) in other states, you have to go through a second process and a second round of navigating the world of probate.
This process is called ancillary probate, or ancillary administration.
When Must a Personal Representative Conduct Ancillary Administration?
Real estate owned in other states is the most common lasset that prompts the need for an ancillary probate such other state(s). Importantly, it must go through ancillary probate according to the laws of the state where that property is held, which is different than your home state.
If you are still working on writing your will or creating your estate plan, there are ways to avoid this process. Assets will not require ancillary probate if they are co-owned with a living person or are placed in a revocable living trust. In Florida, real estate in a business entity (LLC, corporation, etc.) will allow the personal representative to avoid having to go through ancillary probate, provided that the company is owned properly.
Unfortunately, a personal representative doesn’t have this option after an individual has passed. So if you need to go through ancillary administration, how does it work?
The Process of Ancillary Probate
Ancillary probate can be done concurrently or after the probate is settled in the state where the decedent had their permanent home. It may make strategic sense to wait for one to start the other, but this is not always the case. The important take away here is that an ancillary probate is a full formal administration, which can take a lot of time, energy, money and hassle.
Please read our post to learn more about probate, since after-all, ancillary probate means you will likely have more than one full probate administration. This consequence can be completely avoided with proper planning. I strongly encourage you to sit down with an estate and business attorney sooner rather than later because, remember, that this problem is not your problem, it’s your family’s problem.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose
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