Probate is usually started in the county where the decedent was a primary resident.
If the decedent owned real property where they were not a resident, they would likely have to open probate in both states, starting where they were a primary resident.
The probate process and the decedent’s assets are handled at the state level.
Each state has different procedures, and each county or district usually has its own probate process. The county where the decedent was a primary residence is the court with jurisdiction over the estate.
Due to probate being handled at the state level, if a decedent has assets in multiple states, the situation may require multiple probate cases to be opened.
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, they can petition to open ancillary probate in additional states. Ancillary probate can be opened in as many states as necessary to address all assets.