It is not uncommon for a resident of Florida to own real property in another state. In Brown v. Brown, the Florida appellate court reminds us that a Florida probate court does not have jurisdiction over real property in another state, and thus cannot order the partition and sale of real property located outside of Florida.
In this case, the Florida probate court directed the Florida personal representative to distribute a decedent’s Georgia real estate. An estate beneficiary appealed the order, arguing that the Florida probate court lacked jurisdiction to direct the personal representative to distribute the decedent’s Georgia real estate. The Florida appellate court agreed with the Florida estate beneficiary, positively citing cases stating:
Like lines in the sand, state boundaries determine a court’s jurisdiction over real property, and thus the court lacked in rem jurisdiction to order the partition and sale of foreign property.
In no event could the [circuit] court effect a partition of lands outside this state.
When a testator executes a will devising lands in two or more states, the courts in each state construe it as to the lands located therein as if devised by separate wills.
To partition property outside of Florida, the personal representative was required to open an ancillary action in Georgia.
It is basic law that a Florida court does not have jurisdiction over real property located outside of Florida. Although it may at first seem cumbersome for a personal representative to open up multiple cases in order to distribute a decedent’s estate, it is much more time consuming to go through the appellate process and have your order reversed on appeal.