If a person who dies owns property in a state other than the state that person lived in, the estate may need to go through an additional probate proceeding known as ancillary probate. Because the probate process can not finish until all ancillary proceedings finish, ancillary probate proceedings may delay settling an estate.
Can you avoid ancillary probate?
When is ancillary probate required?
The law requires ancillary probate when a person dies and that person is the sole owner of property in a state that is not the state where the deceased person’s permanent residence was. Ancillary probate most commonly affects real estate, such as a second home or investment property, but can also apply to other types of property, such as vehicles registered in other states.
How can I avoid ancillary probate?
The primary way to avoid ancillary probate is to make sure that you are not the sole owner of any property in a state other than the state you live in. Alternatively, you can make arrangements to transfer your out-of-state property to your heirs through a means that is not subject to probate. You can accomplish this by either re-titling property so that it is jointly owned or placing the property in a revocable living trust before you die.
Ancillary probate proceedings can increase the amount of time and expense involved in settling your estate. However, there are estate planning steps you can take to reduce or eliminate the chance that your property will be subject to ancillary probate proceedings.