What is Ancillary Probate, and how is it filed?

Ancillary probate is a special type of probate proceeding in addition to the primary probate proceeding. It often becomes required because the probate court in the home state does not have any legal jurisdiction over property owned by the decedent out-of-state.

 

Probate is usually started in the state where the decedent was a primary residence. Once a Personal Representative has been appointed in the primary state (this is the domiciliary probate) if the Personal Representative discovers that the decedent owned property in other states, they must also file for probate in the state(s) in which the property is located (this is the ancillary probate).

 

Ancillary probate is an additional process that may be necessary if the decedent owned property in another state.  

 

Certain assets, such as bank accounts or insurance policies, are not tied to a physical location and can be processed through probate in any state. 

 

Assets physically tied to a state, such as real estate or vehicles registered to a state, require probate to be done in the state they are tied to. When probate needs to be filed in more than one state, the secondary cases are considered Ancillary Probate Cases. 

 

Probate is usually started in the state where the decedent was a primary residence. Once a Personal Representative has been appointed in the primary state (the domiciliary probate), they can petition to open ancillary probate in any additional states. Ancillary probate can be opened in as many states as necessary to address all assets. 

 

In ancillary probate, often the Letters of Authority and court order appointing the personal representative (and admitting the will to probate if applicable) are submitted along with the petition for ancillary probate, showing that the petitioner already has authority in another state.  

 

In testate cases, the original will is on file with the court where probate was initially opened.  By providing a court-certified copy of the will and the court order admitting the will to probate, the state where ancillary probate is being filed honors the decision of the primary probate and admits the will without needing to re-prove it. 

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