25 Years Of Experience In Elder Law, Guardianship And Estates

When is ancillary probate needed? Can you avoid it?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2024 | Elder Law, Estate Planning, Guardianships, Medicaid Planning, Probate |

Probate proceedings can be complex, especially when assets are located in multiple states. In Florida, ancillary probate may come into play when a decedent owned property or assets outside of the state.

Understanding when an ancillary probate is needed and what strategies you can use to potentially avoid it can help streamline your estate planning process and minimize costs for your beneficiaries.

What is ancillary probate?

Ancillary probate is a secondary or “extra” probate process that’s required when you die with certain assets, especially real property, titled in a state that’s not your primary residence. Ancillary probate is very common in Florida because of the number of “snowbirds” who make their winter homes here.

It’s generally required when you have real estate, vehicles, watercraft, bank accounts, rental property or business interests that are located in Florida at the time of your death. This secondary probate is necessary to comply with the laws of the state and to facilitate the transfer of those items to your beneficiaries. 

Can ancillary probate be avoided?

Effective estate planning can offer strategies to reduce or eliminate ancillary probate for your beneficiaries and heirs. A revocable living trust can be an effective tool, since assets transferred into that trust (which becomes irrevocable when you die) will bypass probate. Lady Bird Deeds, which effectively transfer real estate upon your death, are another method of handling the issue, as are beneficiary designations on bank accounts and other assets.

If you want to make sure your beneficiaries can avoid ancillary probate, it may be time to seek informed legal guidance that’s tailored to your specific needs.