Even If You Are Not A Florida Resident You Might Need a Florida Probate
When someone dies and needs a probate, that probate is usually conducted in the state in which they are a resident, which is their home state (sometimes a person may appear to be a resident of more than one state, but the home state is the state in which they have their driver’s license or are registered to vote etc.). The probate in the home state can handle all the assets that need to go through probate except for real estate that is located in a state other than the home state. A probate that is held in the decedent’s home state is called the domiciliary probate and the probate that is held in a state other than the home state is called the ancillary probate.
Probate for real estate has to be conducted in the state in which the real estate is located. This is why the families of non-Florida residents are sometimes surprised to find out that they need a probate proceeding in Florida. So, if you have a family member who passes away owning real estate located in Florida (that was not owned in a probate avoidance manner such as joint title or a trust), that real estate cannot be sold by the beneficiary until it goes through the probate process.
We receive many panicked phone calls from out of state beneficiaries who are ready to sell real estate located in Florida who don’t realize until they are ready to sell the real estate to an actual buyer that a probate is needed. This need for a probate will most likely delay the sale of the property. Sometimes the sale can still be salvaged if the buyer has the luxury of time to be patient while the probate process gets started, but sometimes the sale is completely lost and the beneficiary has to start all over again to find a new buyer.
So, if you inherit real estate that is located in Florida that you intend to sell, you may want to make one of the first items on your “to do” list finding out what the Florida probate requirements may be for that real estate.