An Overview of Ancillary Probate

Settling your loved one's estate can be difficult, but conducting two separate probates in different states can be even harder. If a decedent lived in one state, and passed with solely owned property in another state, there will need to be a probate in both states.

Why do there have to be two probates? Because, real estate property is governed by the laws in the state in which it's situated, and if the owner lives in another state, it is not governed by that state's laws.

Let's say that Marian lives in Buffalo, New York: She's lived there for 70 years and owns a home there. However, she's what the locals call a "snow bird" and she owns a vacation home in Orlando, where she stays each winter.

Since Marian's husband passed away, when she passes, there's going to need to be a Florida probate proceeding before her vacation home in Florida can be transferred to her son, who stands to inherit it.

Probate in Another State: Ancillary Probate

Probate proceedings in another state are known as "ancillary probate," and for the executor of the decedent's estate, it means more work. When the decedent owns property in another state, it means that the executor will need to hire a lawyer in the other state to handle the probate.

First, probate is begun in the decedent's home state (domiciliary probate). Next, a second probate case (ancillary probate) is opened in the state where the other property is located.

As a general rule, once a will is validated by the probate court in the decedent's home state, it will be accepted in the second state without further proof.

If You Want to Avoid Ancillary Probate

If you want to avoid ancillary probate, an attorney can explain your options, which may include owning the property with another person, placing the property in a revocable living trust, or recording a transfer-on-death deed for the property.

To learn more about ancillary probate, contact a probate attorney from our directory!

Categories: Probate, Ancillary Probate