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Out-of-State Property Issues in Florida Probate

Posted on: September 1st, 2016
real property probateReal property owned by a decedent in other states generally requires a probate court filing in each state. The laws of each state govern how assets are distributed, however, in some cases the protocol differs. Typically when a decedent owns real property in a state other than where they reside, unless their estate planning efforts involved trusts or strategic titling of the property, the asset will be a probate asset. Under these circumstances, the executor of the estate will follow estate procedures to file probate in the state where the property is located. However, some Florida probate cases involving estate disputes over out-of-state property interests have produced different results.

Maintaining real property in multiple states that is subject to probate encompasses several risks. For one, estate dispute procedures may be rife with complication. Second, there may be tax implications. Lastly, administration of multiple probate filings prompts executors to seek the counsel of attorneys practicing in each jurisdiction. 

Executors may need to respond to out-of-state property estate disputes. For instance, a decedent who resided in Florida owned a second home in North Carolina. Shortly before the decedent passed away their North Carolina property was deeded to another family member, allegedly through undue influence. In some states, an estate dispute pertaining to suspected illegal deed transfer would follow the laws of the jurisdiction where the property is located, the ‘local action rule.’ For Florida decedents, this is not necessarily true for all property matters. Cases involving equity lawsuits (such as undue influence) have resulted in application of Florida law (Hirchert Family Trust v. Johnee Ann Alle Hirchert, 2011). A Florida court could order the conveyance of out-of-state property interest in the decedent’s estate. This is possible both for probate assets and for property that was illegally conveyed out of a Florida trust prior to the decedent’s death.

Curious about other estate issues that may surface with properties in multiple jurisdictions? Learn more about Florida probate of out-of-state property.
 
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