Question: My dad died a resident of Ohio and at the time of his death he owned a vacant lot in Florida in his sole name. Can the Ohio probate transfer title of the Florida property to the beneficiaries?
Answer: No. The domiciliary court does not have jurisdiction/control over the Florida property.
Do I Have To Open A Probate Proceeding In Florida
Yes, you would need to commence what is called an ancillary administration.
So What Do I Have To Do?
Gather your facts. There are a few different types of ancillary administration in Florida. In order to determine the type of ancillary administration necessary you need to address the following:
• Was there a will?
• What was the value of the property at the time of death?
• How long the owner has been dead.
• Did dad have any potential creditor issues?
• Is there an estate proceeding open in the Ohio Probate Court?
Once the above questions are clarified then it can be decided as to which type of ancillary proceeding would be necessary in Florida.
Let’s assume the following:
1. Dad (we will call him “Dave”) died last month and he had a will. The will gives the real property to Dave’s children in equal shares.
2. The value of the vacant lot in Florida at the time of death was $130,000.
3. Dave did not have any potential creditor issues to the best of everyone’s knowledge.
4. A probate is currently open in the Ohio Probate Court.
Based on the above facts, a formal ancillary administration would be necessary in Florida. This means that a personal representative would have to be appointed by the Florida probate court in the county where the property is located. Note that not everyone is qualified to serve as a personal representative in Florida but we will save that for a future discussion.
Do I Need Anything From The Ohio Probate Court?
Yes. The Florida court would require an authenticated transcript of the domiciliary estate proceeding.
How Long Does This All Take?
Similar to most other states, you are required to publish a Notice to Creditors and serve a copy of the notice on any known or reasonably ascertainable creditors. The creditors’ claims period is essentially a 3 month process and the real property cannot be distributed until such time as the claims period has been addressed and all claims have been satisfied.
Once the creditor claims period is complete, title to the property can be transferred to the beneficiaries without a “cloud on the title.” Most title insurers will insist upon a completed creditor claims period in order to issue the policy and permit an immediate or future sale.
Now keep in mind, the above is just a brief summary of the ancillary administration process in Florida. There are more details and paperwork but hopefully this gives you a better understanding of how Florida probate works when non-residents die owning property in the State of Florida.
Any other probate questions?
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About Oakstone Law, PL
Oakstone Law PL was founded by Bob Kleinknecht. A member of the Family Trust Subcommittee, the Estate Tax & Trust Planning (ETTP) Committee and the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law (RPPTL) Section of the Florida Bar, Kleinknecht has 15 years’ experience.
Prior to founding Oakstone law, he spent more than eight years serving as a personal, in-house estate, tax and charitable planning attorney for a Forbes 400 family in New York and Florida. Before that he was an estate planning and estate settlement attorney with prominent firms in Boston and Washington, D.C. after beginning his career with a boutique firm in Naples, Florida.
Licensed in Florida and Massachusetts, Kleinknecht has developed a practice model that eliminates billing by the hour and offers a streamlined, customized client process supported by technology, security and a personal approach.
For more information on Oakstone Law, click here. To get in touch with us, click here to send us an email, or call 239-206-3454. Our office is located at 5137 Castello Drive, Suite 2 in Naples, Florida 34103.