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What happens when a loved one dies outside their home state?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2022 | Estate Planning

Florida has long been home to an annual migration of “snowbirds,” or folks who live in colder states most of the year, retreating to second homes in Florida when the weather in their home states gets too chilly.

What happens when a loved one who lives most of the year in another state dies in Florida?

Decide whether to have their body transported back for a funeral or burial

You have to deal with the most practical issues first, and that means deciding how you want your loved one’s remains to be handled. First, check your loved one’s will and other estate planning documents to see if they’ve left instructions about their wishes.

If so, that can provide some much-needed clarity. If not, you basically have to decide whether:

  • You want to have your loved one’s remains cremated in Florida, then moved to their home state for a memorial service.
  • You want to have your loved one’s body removed to their home state for the services and burial.
  • You want to have the entire process (services and then either burial or cremation) handled in Florida.

If you decide to have your loved one’s remains moved from one state to the other for a funeral and burial, you’ll generally have to pay for mortuary transport, whether that means travel by hearse, rail or plane. In addition, you need to work with both the funeral home that collected your loved one’s remains and a funeral home in your area so that they can coordinate the transport and make sure that each state’s laws are observed.

Determine whether you need to go through Florida’s probate process

If your loved one only rented while they were in Florida, you may not have to worry about dealing with probate in multiple states. If they owned property here as well as in your home state, however, that may require going through separate probate processes.

If an ancillary (second) probate process is necessary in Florida, experienced legal assistance can make the entire process less painful during your time of grief.