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Ancillary Probate in Fort Myers

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Real estate is governed by the state it is within, no matter who owns it or where they might primarily reside. It is for this reason that if a loved one passes away in one state but solely owns property in another state, ancillary probate must be taken into account. Ancillary probate – sometimes called second probate – is essentially an entirely separate probate process that specifically deals with any out-of-state property mentioned in the decedent’s last will and testament. This procedure is done to transfer the real estate title in another state.

Legal Help Going from Fort Myers Lawyers

Going through probate once is more than enough for the executor of the will. Having to start the process all over again, perhaps even multiple times for the different states they held property in, can be all the more stressful and tiring. If you have been named as the executor of a loved one’s will and might have to go through ancillary probate, contact Your Advocates for help today.

With one of our Fort Myers probate advocates, you can rest assured knowing that your case is being handled by a knowledgeable and compassionate professional.

Understanding the Ancillary Probate Process

If a decedent owned real estate in different states at the time of death, two probates may be required, as real estate is governed by the law in the state where it is located, not by the laws of the state where the owner resided. Other than needing the transcript of the proceedings, ancillary probate in Florida is handled in a similar manner to any regular Florida probate. Ancillary probate can be handled as a summary probate or a formal probate depending on the specifics of the case.

Let's say Sue is single and a resident of Buffalo, New York. She lives and owns property in New York but she also owns a vacation home in Florida, she's what locals call a "snowbird." Upon her death, there will need to be a Florida probate proceeding before the vacation home can be transferred to her daughter, who stands to inherit the property.

Addressing Concerns Regarding Ancillary Probate

More often than not, once the probate court in the decedent’s state of residence reviews and approves the will in question, other relevant state courts will accept it as well. They are not required to accept these foreign wills, however, and have the right to bring it to their own state’s probate court for review. If they do, this does not necessarily mean that an individual is contesting a will. Furthermore, there are benefits to ancillary probate but, for the most part, it only takes more time, energy, and money from families and executors involved.

There are ways a testator can help loved ones avoid ancillary probate, including:

  • Shared Property: Real estate that is shared with another, even fractionally so, will not require ancillary probate in other states. In most cases, shared property rights will be granted to the surviving owner.
  • Revocable Living Trust: Should real estate rights be given to another in a revocable living trust, that person will be able to distribute the property as they see fit upon the testator’s passing.
  • Transfer-on-Death Deed: To avoid listing property in a will altogether, certain pieces of real estate can be named in a transfer-on-death deed. Such declarations will give sole ownership to the named party if the testator should pass away.

Retain the services of a Fort Myers attorney today!

Any form of probate – whether it is original or ancillary – requires careful attention and an unbroken devotion to the wishes of the will. Most executors and family members simply cannot find the energy necessary to devote their time to the probate process. It is highly recommended and popular to ask a professional lawyer for assistance. Our Fort Myers attorneys have years of experience handling probate law, and our mission is to provide you with superior client service.

Request a free consultation today to see what our integrity and personalized client focus can do for you and your probate cases. If you are an AARP member, we offer discounted prices just for you!

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