When a loved one passes away, the process of settling their estate can be logistically and emotionally challenging. If the deceased had assets in multiple states, however, that adds a whole new layer of complexity to the probate process.
That’s when ancillary probate is needed.
Understanding ancillary probate
Your loved one’s state of residence controls the “domiciliary” or primary probate estate process. If their primary residence was California, that’s where the domiciliary estate is located. An “ancillary” probate process is, in essence, a second probate process that takes place in a different state.
This is required because each state has its own probate process and laws, and that could create conflicts with out-of-state assets. Ancillary probate allows you to follow the specific laws of the state where the property is located so that those assets can be lawfully disposed of or properly transferred to the deceased’s heirs.
You may need to open ancillary probate under the following situations:
- Your loved one had real estate in another state. For example, they may have had investment property in Arizona and a hunting cabin in Maine. In those situations, you would need an ancillary probate in both states.
- Your loved one had other tangible assets that were kept in a different state. For example, maybe they kept a car in California and another in New York because they frequently traveled between the two states for business.
- Your loved one had out-of-state business interests. For example, maybe your Dad was a partner or investor in his brother’s New York pizza parlor. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to open an ancillary probate in that state to handle the disposition of your father’s share of the company.
Going through probate once can be a daunting task, and going through it twice (or more) can seem overwhelming. The right legal guidance, however, can relieve you of much of the burden and keep everything coordinated.