At the age of 80, your widowed father is still healthy, and, though a long-time Georgia resident, he enjoys spending time in his Sarasota condo during the winter months.
When he dies, you stand to inherit that property, but first, an ancillary probate proceeding must take place. What is this and is there any way to get around it?
About ancillary probate
When someone who owns real property in another state dies, the property must pass through probate in that state. This is ancillary probate and takes place in addition to the main probate process in the state where the decedent resided. Normally, the property is another home, perhaps a vacation condo or even a time-share. However, the decedent’s ownership of other assets outside the home state such as a boat, an aircraft, livestock or mineral rights will also require ancillary probate proceedings.
How it works
The executor in the decedent’s home state will start the ancillary probate process in connection with the administration of the estate. However, this may require the assistance of legal counsel or an executor in the state where the property is located. The need for ancillary probate proceedings can become complicated and slow down the main probate process. Expenses can also mount up due to court costs and attorney fees.
Ways to avoid this kind of probate
If your father is amenable, he could put the Sarasota condo in a trust or simply add your name to the deed so that he is not the sole owner. With legal guidance, these are simple matters that would allow less confusion and a more streamlined settlement of your father’s estate.