Ancillary probate is required if a person lives in one state but owns real property in another. The personal representative or executor files the ancillary probate where the decedent’s estate assets are. Depending on the circumstances, the court can appoint a personal representative to administer the assets in that state, even though the decedent did not live there.

When the decedent dies, the executor will be in charge of ancillary administration for their property. The executor will determine how the personal property left by the deceased gets passed across to the designated beneficiary. Below is an overview of ancillary probate.

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Multi-State Probate

Estate planning helps reduce extra steps for family members to go through to complete the probate process. First and foremost, creating a living trust can help avoid a probate proceeding altogether. Despite this, when a person dies without a will or planning their estate, probate will most likely have to be filed and ancillary administration performed. With this in mind, when a decedent has property in more than one state, probate for their real estate is first recorded in the state where they lived (domiciliary probate). In other words, the primary probate state is the state of residency.

Filing Ancillary Probate in California

Once a personal representative or estate executor is appointed and issued letters by the court, they can open probate in each state the decedent holds title to real property. The personal representative files the probated will as a foreign document in the out-of-state court. The personal representative will therefore perform the roles of a foreign executor. More specifically, the personal representative submits an exemplified copy of the will in the ancillary probate case with the secondary court.

This exemplified copy is merely a copy of the original will that is uniquely “certified” by the court clerk. The court clerk certifies the document as being a true and correct copy of the filed original probate. Each state has different probate laws. Keep in mind, the probate court may hold over order on real property in ancillary proceedings until probate in the home state finishes. In case the deceased had a revocable living trust, performing trust administration for their estate property won’t be necessary.

Ancillary Probate Example

Carlos was a resident of Nevada. He frequented San Diego, California regularly and purchased a condo there after winning big at a Nevada casino. Carlos passed away shortly after buying the condominium. His last will designated his best friend Rene to serve as the executor. Rene filed for probate (original probate) in Nevada because that is where Carlos resided.

However, after receiving letters testamentary and appraising all of Carlos’ assets, he filed another petition for ancillary probate in California. Rene petitioned the court in California to approve the transfer of the condo to Carlos’ son. The court accepted the ancillary petition for the deceased individual and allowed Rene to close the probate estate case in the Nevada court. The entire ancillary probate proceeding was pretty straightforward for Rene and he never involved any probate lawyer.

Ancillary Probate Considerations

Take into account that legal issues may arise in regards to where the decedent resided (residency) at the time of death. For example, depending on a state’s probate laws, interested parties may try and argue in favor of one state’s jurisdiction over the matter (the decedent’s state of residence). Furthermore, ancillary probate (compared to original probate) may increase the costs of the overall probate court proceedings.

Contact A People’s Choice and work with a legal document preparer. Using our services can save you thousands of dollars in attorney fees. We have helped many people file ancillary probate petitions in other states requesting the court to transfer or sell real estate. Contact us today to minimize the time spent on a typical ancillary probate proceeding.

Since the ancillary probate process can be daunting at times, it’s of great significance if you seek the help of certified professionals. Although a probate lawyer won’t be needed much, understanding the ancillary probate laws is essential for a fruitful ancillary proceeding. During the primary probate proceeding, some states provide letters of authorization to the deceased’s personal representative as they perform foreign probate.

Filing Ancillary Probate Without a Lawyer

Despite common misconceptions, you can file ancillary probate in California without hiring a probate attorney. Unfortunately, ancillary probate in California proceeding takes just as long as regular probate and is the same amount of work. As has been noted, the cost of filing probates in multiple states is high. Don’t spend money unnecessarily and take a vacation with the money saved by using our probate services.

Some of the charges that make probate expensive include: filing fees, accounting fees, and application for probate charges. Therefore, the entire legal process may cost you much. Don’t take our word for it. By all means, use our online probate calculator to see exactly how much you will save! Then call us at 800-747-2780.


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