What is ancillary probate?

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What is ancillary probate?

Ancillary probate-

The ancillary probate is an extra probate process when the deceased person (decedent) has owned property in a state outside the state where they once lived. Probate is a legal process where the court proves the authenticity of a deceased person’s last will. This identifies the debts or taxes the estate owes and notifies the beneficiaries of any inheritance. First of all, the probate process begins where the decedent lives. However, one cannot settle the estate until the full completion of the ancillary probate proceedings.

If the case is pending, there will be a secondary probate proceeding that can quickly become expensive through the court fees, lawyer’s fees, and other unavoidable filing costs. Any inheritances’ prices decrease if the decedent wants to leave their heirs. The executor will find the multiple proceedings challenging, potentially with the help of lawyers in other states. One can avoid the ancillary probate administration by ensuring that the individual is not the sole owner of the property. When the individual dies, the legal proceedings put the property into the trust before death or by getting a transfer on death (TOD) deed only if the property is in the state that allows such acts. 

When is the ancillary probate necessary?

The ancillary probate process involves a second home, rental property, land, or real estate. It applies to all tangible personal properties, including cars, boats, or vehicles registered in other states.

How does ancillary probate work?

The estate executor or personal representative of the deceased person is responsible for petitioning a local court to begin the probate process. This process usually takes place in the decedent’s home state. The domiciliary probate is the probate process in the state where the decedent lived. If the executor has the property in other states, he must usually begin secondary probate proceedings through a similar approach, except in the state where the property is located. To start the ancillary administration, the executor can visit or contact a court in the other state, but they want to get local probate or estate lawyer for guidance. Since each state sets its probate law, the executor must do this in an additional state where the decedent owned property.

Overview of the ancillary probate process- 

  • File a Petition to the court to officially become executor (get letters testamentary)
  • Identify the estate’s assets and properties, then begin ancillary probate if required.
  • Complete payment of debts, taxes, or other expenses the estate has 
  • The beneficiaries of the estate should be notified and distributed assets among them.

How to avoid ancillary probate?

Below mentioned are two main ways to avoid ancillary administration-

  1. There is joint ownership of the property. Make sure there is shared ownership of the property and whether it’s in the state where you don’t live. They may say to retitle the estate or property if you live in a community property state.
  2. Revocable living trust- The property must be moved into a revocable living trust before you die. The trustee you kept can then assume the ownership after you die without the property going through the property. 


Most individuals have estates that transcend state boundaries and need jurisdictions to work together to administer an estate fully. The ancillary probate process will depend on whether the deceased died with or without the will. If the case has a will proceeding, it will have ancillary probate; if not, the proceedings will be called ancillary administration. The executor is consistently found to be responsible for starting the ancillary probate. Moreover, They can solve that with the help of a local lawyer. 

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