While this winter in Toronto has been blessedly mild, colder weather makes many of us wonder why we live in a cold climate, or at least envy those who have vacation homes in warmer climates. While a vacation home in Florida or Arizona or other southern destinations may be a wonderful thing, planning is usually necessary to prevent it from becoming a burden after death for your family and executors. As an example, directly owning a vacation home in Florida or Arizona may give rise to the onerous process to probate a will in those jurisdictions. This is in addition to any U.S. estate tax exposure your estate may face due to direct ownership of U.S. real estate.
For example, in Florida the probate process requires that your executors either be your spouse or another relative, or be a resident of Florida. Unrelated non-resident executors are not eligible to apply for a Florida probate grant. This can limit your choice of executors where a Florida probate grant is necessary. If your chosen executors are not qualified for Florida probate purposes, the Florida court can appoint another qualified person instead, including a local professional or trust company.