The Cost of Ancillary Probate in Florida Can Be Higher Than You Think
The Cost of Ancillary Probate in Florida Can Be Higher Than You Think

The cost of ancillary probate in Florida can be more expensive than you might expect. In this article, we break it down for you.

Many people flock to Florida every year to take in the sun and enjoy the beaches. Some residents of other states love it so much that they decide to make the Sunshine State their home away from home.

But what happens when someone from another state or country who owns assets in Florida passes away? What happens to their property? The answer: it passes through ancillary probate.

What is ancillary probate?

Ancillary probate is a proceeding that takes place when a person passes away with property in more than one state, or when a foreign national dies with property in the United States. For the assets to be distributed to beneficiaries, they must first go through ancillary probate.

In Florida, ancillary probate is necessary when a resident of another state or country dies with assets, credits due, or liens on property in this state. 

How does it work?

The process works in much the same way as regular probate in Florida. The biggest difference between the two is that assets can be distributed to beneficiaries or to the domiciliary estate for further administration.

If assets are valued at less than $50,000 and the decedent had a will, the representative of the domiciliary estate—that is, the estate established in their state of residence—may be able to conduct a summary ancillary probate administration.

What Makes the Cost of Ancillary Probate in Florida Go Up

In many cases, ancillary probate can be conducted quickly, without compounding costs that the estate has to pay. If disputes arise, however, things can get complicated.

In Miami-Dade, the fees and costs associated with opening ancillary administration, including court fees, notice to creditors, and mailing of documents can range anywhere from several hundred to over $1000 in an uncontested case.

When ancillary probate is contested, the cost goes up. From additional time spent in administration to additional resources spent on litigation, the cost of ancillary probate in Florida can get quite expensive.

How to Avoid High Ancillary Probate Costs

One of the best ways to avoid the high costs often associated with ancillary probate is to create an air-tight estate plan. Depending on your situation, you may be able to employ trusts, joint ownership, and other estate planning strategies to avoid the probate process completely. If you have a large estate and you want to make sure it passes on to your beneficiaries intact, do not hesitate to get started.

Need help determining the cost of ancillary probate in Florida? Get in touch with Casal & Moreno today.

At Casal & Moreno, P.A., we are estate planning experts who are ready to help you plan for the future. If you need help navigating the often complicated landscape of your estate, get in touch with us today. Schedule your consultation now so we can discuss the details of your estate and your goals.