Ancillary probate: How to reduce costs for your family

Ancillary probate: How to reduce costs for your family

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2021 | Firm News |

Do you live in a Florida home for part of the year but have residency in another state? If so, the administration of your estate may become expensive and complex upon your death. Family members and your personal representative might have to pay additional fees and shoulder costs when transferring local assets to your beneficiaries, especially if you own real estate.

According to the Florida Courts, ancillary probate ensures all debt gets paid to the state before allowing a property transfer to non-residents.

How does ancillary probate work?

Ancillary probate administration includes terms of a bond, notice to creditors and the ability to sell the property and pay off debt. If your property value is less than $50,000, your personal representative may conduct a summary ancillary administration. Once complete, your beneficiaries may receive their inheritance.

Florida probate rules state that your personal representative must have the services of an in-state attorney when going through ancillary probate. Although the cost for these services begins at 3% of the value of your Florida assets, it can be significantly more. For example, if you own a home valued at $250,000, the fees may start at $7,500. Additional property such as a boat can add to the cost.

How can I avoid ancillary probate in Florida?

You can take steps during the estate planning process that can help your family avoid expensive ancillary probate. You can add your chosen beneficiary or personal representative to the title of each piece of property in question. When you die, they have the right to survivorship. As a result, there’s no need for ancillary probate. You can also gift the property to one or more beneficiaries through an enhanced life estate deed. This type of property passes outside of probate.

You may have several probate strategies available for your estate. Depending on your unique situation, you might move property into a business entity or trust. These options can help your loved ones avoid probate costs as they change the process required for transfer.

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