By: Rebecca Nichols, Esq.

Published at

28 November 2022

Understanding and Navigating Ancillary Administration in Florida

Ancillary Probate Florida: What, How, and When?

"When an individual owns assets in various different states, the estate administration process becomes more complex and often requires multiple Probate Administrations. When a deceased individual who was not a resident of Florida owns assets or property in the state, a probate administration in Florida may be necessary. To handle situations such as these, probate attorneys turn to a process called an “Ancillary Administration.” The purpose of this article is to help you better understand the Ancillary Probate Administration process in Florida."

What is Ancillary Probate in Florida?

"If a non-resident of Florida dies with property in Florida, including real property, notes or liens, or intangibles in Florida, an Ancillary Probate Administration may be required to properly pass title/ownership of the assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries. See Florida Statute §734.102(1)."


An Ancillary Probate Administration is generally a secondary probate process specifically required when a deceased individual owns real property in a jurisdiction different from the state of their primary residence.

  Ancillary Probate Floridaacts as a supplement to the probate process occurring where the decedent resides, known as the Domiciliary Probate, and ensures that the decedent’s estate is distributed according to their Last Will and Testament and local law.


For example, let’s say someone lived in New York but owned a vacation home in Florida. When individuals pass away, a will typically dictates the distribution of their property to family members or others. This distribution happens through a legal process known as probate. Usually, New York would conduct the probate because they lived there. But, New York’s court does not wield power over real property in Florida. For the proper distribution of the Florida house, opening an ancillary probate in Florida becomes necessary.


It is typically the responsibility of the personal representative or executor (the person named in the will to make sure everything is divided up correctly) to initiate the ancillary probate administration. They often work with a lawyer in that state because every state has different laws.


How do Ancillary Probate Administrations in Florida Work?

In a nutshell, the ancillary administration process begins with appointing a personal representative or executor authorized to handle the decedent’s real property or assets in Florida. The process includes filing necessary documents, paying estate debts and taxes, selling the property if needed, and coordinating with beneficiaries to distribute assets. To protect the decedent’s interests and seamlessly and correctly execute their wishes, it is essential to perform ancillary administration.


When Should an Ancillary Probate Administration in Florida Be Filed?

Ideally, the personal representative or executor of the estate should initiate the ancillary probate process as soon as possible after their appointment in the domiciliary proceeding, or the probate proceeding in the decedent’s home state. It is essential to file the Florida Ancillary Probate Administration promptly to avoid additional complications and potential disputes, as well as to shorten the time taken to distribute the decedent’s assets.


Who is Authorized to Act as a Personal Representative or Executor in a Florida Ancillary Probate Administration?

An ancillary administrator is typically the personal representative or executor designated in the decedent’s will. However, if there is no will or the named executor is unavailable, the court can appoint a personal representative pursuant to Florida probate law. To act as personal representative or executor in an ancillary administration in Florida, the representative must meet specific legal requirements and obtain authorization from the appropriate county circuit court where the real property is located.


Ancillary Probate


Florida Ancillary Probate Checklist:

Before starting the ancillary probate process, it is vital to have all the necessary documentation and information available to provide to and discuss with your Florida probate attorney. Below is a checklist that may help:


  • 1. Locate the decedent’s original will.
  • 2. Obtain a certified death certificate.
  • 3. Compile a list of all the decedent’s fundamental properties located in Florida.
  • 4. Identify all outstanding debts or claims against the decedent’s estate.
  • 5. Consult a qualifiedFlorida probate attorney

Step-by-Step Ancillary Administration Procedure

Below is a description of the Ancillary Administration process in Florida:


  • 1. For your Ancillary Administration needs, consult a Florida probate attorney specializing in this area. Their expertise and experience will be invaluable.
  • 2. File a petition for ancillary administration in the appropriate county circuit court.
  • 3. Collaborate with your attorney to prepare a Florida asset inventory.
  • 4. Include each asset’s fair market value at the time of the decedent’s death.
  • 5. Manage the estate, which may involve maintaining or selling the property, paying taxes, and paying off the decedent’s debts.
  • 6. Distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries as detailed in the decedent’s will or according to Florida law. -7. Once distributions are complete, work with your Probate and Trust Administration Attorney to close the ancillary probate by filing appropriate paperwork with the court.

How Long Does Ancillary Probate Take in Florida?

The duration of ancillary probate in Florida varies from one case to another. Factors that affect the timeline include the size and complexity of the estate, the level of cooperation amongst beneficiaries, potential disputes, and the court’s docket. Ancillary probate typically lasts around 8 to 12 months in many cases. If the decedent passed away more than two years ago, and asset values permit, an abbreviated version of ancillary probate might be an appropriate option. Be aware that more complex cases could extend the duration even longer.

Florida Ancillary Probate Forms

Key forms required in the ancillary probate process include:


  • Petition for Ancillary Administration – The primary document that initiates the process.
  • Oath of Personal Representative – A sworn statement made by the personal representative indicating they will fulfill their responsibilities correctly and pursuant to Florida law.
  • Inventory of the Estate – A comprehensive list of the decedent’s real property or assets located in Florida.
  • Fiduciary Accounting and Final Distribution documents – Documentation required to formally conclude the ancillary probate.

Hiring the Right Help

  • A skilled probate lawyer is vital for Florida’s ancillary Probate and Trust Administration.
  • Their role is to ensure legal compliance, coordinate with beneficiaries, and manage disputes.
  • They also oversee asset distribution.
  • An experienced lawyer can identify problems and offer solutions.
  • This can save time, money, and stress during the process.


Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them:

  • In order to avoid complications and reduce the waiting period for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance, it is crucial to initiate the ancillary probate process swiftly. Therefore, don’t delay starting this procedure.
  • Failing to consult a qualified attorney: Always work with an experienced Florida probate attorney to ensure a smooth and speedy administration of the estate.
  • Overlooking potential liabilities: Make sure you account for all the deceased’s debts and financial obligations when managing their estate.
  • Ignoring beneficiaries’ concerns: Always be transparent and open with beneficiaries. Seeking their cooperation can oftentimes avoid costly and time-consuming disputes.


Understanding and navigating the Ancillary Probate and Administration of Trusts in Florida is crucial for ensuring a seamless and fair distribution of assets. Planning ahead, hiring a qualified attorney, and avoiding common pitfalls are all essential factors for a successful process.


To further clarify the concept, we have answered some frequently asked questions about Ancillary Probate Administrations in Florida:


Can ancillary probate be avoided?

In some instances, you can avoid ancillary probate by transferring real property ownership to a living trust or through other legal mechanisms Florida law provides. Consult a Probate Administration Lawyer in Florida for guidance.


Can surviving spouses handle ancillary administration without an attorney?

Florida law allows individuals to handle probate administrations “pro se” (without an attorney) under very limited circumstances. Though potentially possible, it is highly recommended to engage an experienced attorney. Navigating through probate administration without expert legal guidance can cause complications and delays.


What happens to the Florida property if an ancillary probate is not initiated?

If you don’t initiate an ancillary administration, the property of the deceased person may stay undistributed. This could potentially lead to future disputes and legal complications.

If you’re an executor for a decedent’s estate, and they owned Florida property. Make sure you contact a seasoned Florida probate lawyer for advice. Many probate attorneys, including our office, offer complimentary initial consultations. Or If you have Florida assets, contact an informed estate planning attorney. Creating an extensive estate plan early can assure your loved ones’ peace of mind.

Disclosure: The information contained in this website and blog is of a general nature and is not intended in any way to answer individual legal questions. If you have a legal question concerning your individual circumstances, please contact our firm to schedule a conference with one of our experienced attorneys. Your review of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor any legal privileges relating thereto. Offices in Ocala and Sebring.

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