International and Domestic Probate Administration
Probate administration is governed by the law of the jurisdiction within which the probate assets are located. In Florida, probate proceedings are opened in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death. Sometimes, however, the decedent will have owned probate assets in another state. If this is the case, ancillary administration is necessary.
What happends under ancillary administration?
Under ancillary administration, a probate proceeding must be opened in the court of the state in which the property is located so that the applicable probate property can be administered. For instance, if Danny was a resident of Florida and died with real property located in Georgia, probate administration must be had in Florida and ancillary administration must be had in Georgia. If Danny was a resident of Georgia and died solely owning a house located in Miami, Florida, then ancillary administration must be had in Florida to administer Danny’s Miami house.
But what happens if the decedent has probate assets located in a foreign country?
The simple answer: ancillary administration must be had in the country in which the assets are located. This means that the probate laws (and estate tax laws) of that country will apply. But just as the law varies from state to state, the law varies from country to country. Similarly, each asset may require a different process of administration depending on the laws of that country.
Understandably, this can be very complicated—and dealing with more confusion is the last thing anyone will want to deal with after the loss of a loved one. It is essential to have representation knowledgeable of foreign probate, inheritance, and taxation laws who can simplify the issues and, more importantly, provide a point of contact.
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