Pompano Beach, FL asked in Family Law and Probate for Florida

Q: My Father,Unmarried, passed away in Puerto Rico November 2023. His legal will was made in Puerto Rico by an Attorney.

HE was born in Puerto Rico. His will states ALL his Property & Assets are to be Equally divided to his 2 Biological Daughters (two different wives) & StepDaughter. He owns 2 Homes & Parcel of Land & no mortgage in Ceiba, Puerto Rico & 1Condo Property in Pompano Beach, Fl with mortgage. Biological Daughters live in S Carolina & Hawaii; stepdaughter in Puerto Rico. His Prime Resident over 20 years has been Pompano Beach Condo & lived in Ceiba Home last 2 years. He still went back & forth. His will does not list items. He has clearly designated/appointed an executor for Will. He clearly states ALL of his real & personal property & assets are to be equally divided between 3 Beneficiaries & he clearly names 3 Beneficiaries(all over 21) & their relationship. Since the will was Legally prepared in Puerto Rico, does it require an Attorney to be hired in both Florida & Puerto Rico? Since there is an outstanding Mortgage & Assessment on Florida Property, how is that handle?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Orlando, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I am very sorry for your loss on the passing of your father, please accept my condolences at this sad and difficult time for you and your family. Since your father owned property in both states, some version of probate will be required in both states. You will want a Florida Probate Attorney to review the Wil and help the named Personal Representative or you commence a Florida Probate related to the condo property, based on what is determined to be the state of residence, a primary probate will be done there and then an ancillary probate will be done in the other location. It sounds like Florida was his primary home and residence, any mortgage will need to be addressed and paid ongoing and or via probate if you are keeping he home or eventually selling it, the real issue is to not fall too far behind on any HOA or even mortgages in the meantime as that could add foreclosure issues potentially, so the sooner a probate is commenced surely the better to avoid added headaches and delays potentially. Ultimately a probate attorney will be needed in both states. Probate in Florida can be handled from afar and you need not be present in most instances, the similar situation likely applies in Puerto Rico, but you will have to check with local counsel there.

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