Ancillary probate for property in another state
If your parents or other loved ones sought relief from harsh winter weather, chances are they escaped to the south during the colder months. On the other hand, if they called Florida their home, they may have enjoyed their summers in a cooler clime. No matter what motivated them to split their time between states, if your parents owned property in both those states, you may have a complex probate situation on your hands now that they have passed away.
Probate is the process that determines what happens to your loved one’s assets after they die. When it comes to real property, probate follows the laws for the state in which the property is located. Your parents’ estate will go through probate in their home state, but you may also have to endure ancillary probate in the state of the second home.
Common disadvantages of ancillary probate
Since each state has its own laws regarding probate, property located in one state may not be governed by the laws of another state. This is not limited to homes and land, but it also includes assets that may have titles in another state, such as vehicles or boats, livestock or mineral rights. Most courts will cooperate with the state in which the primary probate occurs, such as accepting the will even if it does not meet the ancillary state’s requirements.
The executor of your loved one’s estate will have to start the ancillary probate process as soon as he or she learns of property existing in another state. This should be early in the probate process. However, ancillary probate can present serious complications, including the following:
- The need for ancillary probate may delay the beneficiaries receiving their inheritance even longer than having just one probate.
- It can be very expensive since it will involve court costs and other fees in two or more states.
- If your loved ones did not leave an estate plan, you may discover that the rightful heirs are different in each state.
Ideally, your loved ones placed their out-of-state properties in a living trust or took other steps so that you could avoid ancillary probate. However, if this did not happen, you should learn as much as you can about the probate laws in both states so that you can be well prepared for the long and potentially complex process ahead.