If a non-U.S. resident dies leaving assets in Florida, an ancillary administration is necessary. The personal representative of Florida ancillary probate proceedings has the duty of organizing the decedent’s assets located in Florida, giving notice to creditors and paying valid claims, and distributing the remaining assets according to the decedent’s will or the intestacy statutes.
If the Florida personal representative is qualified to act, he will be issued ancillary letters of administration. Otherwise, an alternate personal representative will be appointed by the court in accordance with an order of priority set out in the rules governing Florida probate.
Also, personal property located in Florida, while subject to ancillary probate administration, is controlled by the law of the decedent’s domicile. Because ancillary probate only occurs when the decendent was domiciled outside Florida, the ancillary administration is usually governed by law outside Florida.
The exception is if the testator (decedent) provides in his will that the “testamentary disposition of such property shall be governed by Florida law.” Then the probate will be governed by Florida law even though it is still technically an “ancillary” administration.
The ancillary administration is commenced as provided by the Florida Probate Code. If the will and any codicils (amendments to the will) are executed as required by Florida law, then they will be admitted to probate. Unless a creditors’ claims are otherwise barred by Florida law, the ancillary personal representative must publish and serve a notice to the creditors according to the requirements of chapter 733 of the Florida Statutes.
If you have any questions about the ancillary probate process or would like legal assistance regarding a Florida probate, contact one of our experienced probate and estate attorneys today to schedule a free consultation.