Planning For A Secure Future

Demystifying ancillary probate and its purpose

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2024 | Estate Administration & Probate

If you reside in California but own property in another state, you might be puzzled about how to incorporate these assets into your estate plan, especially given the differing laws across states. Ancillary probate becomes critical in such scenarios. This legal process ensures that your property in other states is distributed according to your wishes, despite the differences in state laws.

Definition of ancillary probate

Ancillary probate is an additional, simultaneous probate process that is required if you own property in a state different from your residence. Upon your passing, the laws of the state where the property is located will govern its disposition. Multiple proceedings may be necessary after your death. The state where you resided will not have the legal authority to transfer this out-of-state property to your beneficiaries.

Probate isn’t needed if the property is in a trust or has a surviving joint owner. These include a marital home or a bank account you owned with your surviving spouse. This is because, after your passing, your spouse becomes the sole owner of your property.

How does an ancillary administration work?

Often, an ancillary administration functions similarly to any other estate administration case. Your chosen executor will receive a letter of administration from the court. If you have not left a will, the court will identify one person who qualifies to fill this position. Although they may allow a non-resident to act as a representative, they prefer working with those who live locally.

If your representative isn’t qualified to serve in that particular state, they must appoint a different one. The ancillary personal representative may opt for “summary” administration to expedite probate. However, they’ll still need to file several documents, including a copy of the will. They also must send a notice to creditors and respond to their statements.

Ancillary proceedings necessitate meticulous handling and attention to detail. All information required must be organized and ready to present before starting this process. This is because any errors can have significant repercussions.