Ancillary probate is a secondary probate proceeding that takes place in a different location from that in which the deceased person (the decedent) lived. Ancillary probate is necessary if someone owns property in two or more different states. It makes the probate process more complicated and makes things more difficult for the executor of an estate.
Parman & Easterday provides assistance with ancillary probate. If you are the executor, heir or beneficiary of someone who owns property in multiple states, we can assist you. We will advise you about the ancillary probate process and serve as your local attorney in the courtroom in which the ancillary probate proceedings take place. Give us a call today to find out more about the assistance we provide.
What Is Ancillary Probate?
Ancillary probate occurs if a secondary probate proceeding in a different state is needed. If a decedent owns real property (real estate including land, a house, or commercial real estate) in multiple states, it cannot be transferred to the named beneficiaries as part of the probate in the place in which the decedent lived. Probate has to occur in each state in which property was owned.
When the decedent passes away, probate will be filed in the county and state in which he lived. This initial probate is sometimes called domiciliary probate because it happens in the decedent’s place of domicile. The property located in a different state cannot be transferred through this initial domiciliary probate. The probate court in which the property is located has jurisdiction, so a secondary probate proceeding — ancillary probate — must be held at that secondary location. If the decedent owned property in three or more different states, three or more probate proceedings would be necessary.
Typically, ancillary probate is streamlined because it is not necessary to cover every aspect of the probate process a second time. For example, if a will was probated in the domiciliary probate, it can be introduced as a foreign will and its validity accepted.
Ancillary probate is a hassle and can result in significant expense. The process is difficult and costly, not just because two separate probate proceedings have to occur, but also because this secondary (and subsequent) probate proceedings take place in a different location. This means identifying a local lawyer to handle the probate where the property is located. The executor generally will have to travel to the site of the ancillary probate proceeding.
The job of an executor is already a difficult and time consuming one, and heirs or beneficiaries lose a portion of their inheritance to probate costs and fees. Investopedia estimates costs of three to seven percent of the value of the estate are usual. When ancillary probate is needed, more money and time is wasted.
Can Ancillary Probate Be Avoided?
Ancillary probate can be avoided if you transfer property outside of the probate process before you pass away. If you own property in multiple states, making a comprehensive estate plan is especially important. The plan should use trusts or joint ownership with rights of survivorship to avoid probate.
Because laws differ from state-to-state regarding how to transfer property outside of probate, be sure you talk with an experienced attorney who can help you establish a comprehensive and protective estate plan. A Parman & Easterday attorney can assist you and ensure your family inherits your assets as quickly and effectively as possible through the right estate plan. Give us a call to find out more about how we can assist you.
Getting Help From A Probate Lawyer
If you are the executor of an estate or if you are inheriting from someone who owned property in multiple places, Parman & Easterday can help you. We can advise you about what is involved in the ancillary probate process and help you with ancillary probate proceedings in Oklahoma City or surrounding areas. Our legal team can also assist you in finding ways to avoid ancillary probate so your loved ones do not have to deal with the hassle and expense of multiple probates.