The winter months witness the return of Florida's “snowbirds.” Many of these part-time residents own real estate in Florida as their second homes. The form of ownership of such property can be of great importance upon the death or incapacity of the owner.
Real estate is subject to probate administration in the place in which it is located, not the place where the owner resides. Thus, the ownership of Florida real estate by a New York resident may result in her heirs having to establish an “ancillary” Florida probate estate to permit the transfer of title to the rightful heirs. Ancillary probate results in significant added costs and delay in the heirs taking title to the inherited property.
We typically counsel our non-Florida resident clients to hold Florida real estate in a revocable trust. Assets held in a revocable trust avoid probate administration upon the death of the owner. We work with our out-of-state clients and their counsel to ensure proper titling of Florida real estate. For those without an existing trust, we can create one specifically to hold Florida real estate. In addition, our Florida resident clients with non-Florida real estate are often encouraged to hold such property in their revocable trusts, as well.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the ownership of your real property.