Processing Probate in multiple states is possible through Ancillary Probate.

Processing Probate in multiple states is possible through Ancillary Probate.
Mick Grant
Mick Grant

Founder and Writer

Today, it is common for families and family members to own a property in multiple states.

Sometimes, two individuals have joint ownership of a property. And, sometimes the property is owned individually. When an estate owner passes away, their probate plays a significant role. Assets of the deceased are distributed based on the will. 

If a deceased owned property in more than one state, the heirs need to consult multiple attorneys. Since the laws of a state govern all the real estates within its territory, heirs cannot rely on domiciliary probate.

Why won’t domiciliary probate help in the case of property in multiple states? 

All the states have different laws and taxation criteria for real estate. The jurisdiction of the domiciliary probate is limited. When an individual dies, the court distributes his assets. The court in the domicile state of an individual distributes his assets based on his will.

If the assets mentioned in the will are across states, the heirs need to opt for Ancillary probate. Based on the location of the assets, the heirs need to file a case. A case in the residing state of the property will help the heirs.

What are the necessary measures you must take before processing Ancillary Probate? 

Before processing this, the heirs should consult their primary attorney about the matter. Often, Attorneys work across States. They might be able to help heirs process the probate. Some attorneys may not operate across States. Nonetheless, they may still have some valuable suggestions for you. 

In case the heirs did not consult an attorney. They may consult multiple attorneys. Consulting numerous attorneys before hiring one will help heirs to understand the process better. 

After hiring the suitable attorney, heirs, or the spouse of the deceased, should keep a copy of the will handy. A copy of the will would be necessary to attest while filing the case.

Things to keep in mind while processing probate in multiple states

Processing the cases across states may be time-consuming and a tiring process. However, some states do not require the heirs or the spouse of the deceased to be present in the court. Such states have the provision of an external executor. 

The heirs can hire an attorney in the state of the real estate to represent them. The hired attorney is responsible for ensuring the payment of all dues and taxes of the deceased. 

While filing the case might seem a simple process, it is not. One must approach the court with papers that are neatly prepared. The papers should not feature any errors. To ensure the papers are error-free, the executors may look for professional help. 

The simplified way to process ancillary probate 

Sometimes, going slow might help the heir or the spouse. In other words, after the death of an individual who owned property across states, heirs should first get the domicile probate processed.

Upon the successful processing of the will, the heirs get the status of executor from a court. Since the heirs are now executors, declared by the court in the domicile state. Going forward in other states, things might get easy for heirs.

Some states offer exclusive help for the heirs. These states often have the provision for foreign executors in case of ancillary probate. The foreign executors are those who have gained the status of an executor.

A court in the domicile state grants the status of executor.

To process things without hassles, an executor has to file necessary documents. The documents must be attested with a copy of the will. However, for this process as well, one might need a lawyer. 

The dilemma around ancillary probate 

Many people believe they can skip the process of ancillary probate if their loved one owned property in secondary states. However, this is not true. Until or unless the deceased have opted for a revocable living trust. One cannot skip the process of ancillary probate.

The living trust must include the property owned in secondary states.

If the deceased opted for trust but didn’t list his foreign assets, then the heirs have to file ancillary probate. Due to various estate laws, property taxes may vary. Some assets held in a domicile state may be tax-free. However, that may not be the case with assets in the foreign states.


Ancillary probate is necessary when heirs want to process probate for property held in multiple states. One should hire a reliable attorney to process their probate without hassles.

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