WHAT IS AN ANCILLARY PROBATE?
An ancillary probate refers to a probate proceeding that is required in addition to a primary probate proceeding that will take place in your home state. Typically ancillary probate will be necessary because you own a piece of real estate that is located outside of your home state, although it could apply to tangible personal property such as a car, boat, or airplane, that is registered and titled outside of your home state, or livestock or oil, gas, or mineral rights that are attached to real estate located outside of your home state.
Like the original probate proceeding in the state in which you passed away, the ancillary probate proceeding is also costly, time consuming and complicated. And just like the original probate proceeding, your goal should be to avoid it. Here is how…
Let’s say Wilma is 80 years old and her husband William recently passed away. Wilma lives in Missouri but she owns a second home with William in California. Since the property is in both their names, once Williams passes, Wilma owns the second home all to herself. All of the assets of the couple were jointly held, so William’s passing results in the same result, Wilma now owns everything and no probate is necessary. Wilma has not done any estate planning, however. If she wants to keep the California home, the best fit might be a living trust. With the living trust, Wilma can ensure all of her assets in Missouri are owned by the trust and she can record a deed so that her trust owns the California property. Since the trust owns the property, when Wilma dies there will be no need for an ancillary probate.
A living trust has many positive benefits for individuals and families, but as you can see, it can be especially helpful to people who own property in another state.