Q: I live in Florida and am executor for a will in probate in PA, Allegheny County. Do I need a lawyer licensed in both states to help me file tax papers. (Bradenton, FLA)
A: The state where the decedent had residency, is the state where the estate must be opened. If all of the property is in PA, a NJ lawyer may set up an estate in PA. For convenience, depending on the local PA law, you may be able to be sworn in as executor in the FLA probate court, to save some travel time. The FLA probate court then certifies the paperwork then sends your papers to the PA probate court. The PA probate court then admits them and certifies you as executor. If there is property in FLA, you may need to have a lawyer file for an ancillary estate in FLA, to handle the FLA property. I would consult with the PA lawyer first.
Q: My mother is 94 years old and is a Florida resident. She has been living with me here in Pittsburgh. Do we need to contact a lawyer in Florida or Pittsburgh?
A: It depends where she intends to reside. Normally, her estate will need to be opened in the state where she has established residency. Each state has law which defines residency. If she has property located in PA and FLA when she dies in PA, and she has residency in PA, you may have to hire an attorney in PA and he or she may have to open and estate in PA and ancillary estate in FLA. Many times, the PA lawyer will seek and hire a FLA lawyer to do the ancillary estate work in FLA. FLA has no state inheritance tax so there may be obvious advantages for her keeping property in FLA. I would consult with a lawyer in the state that you feel she will most likely have residence in when she dies.