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Understanding ancillary probate can help when passing on assets

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | Blog, Estate Administration

Are you dealing with a descendent in New Jersey who owned real estate or tangible personal property in another state? This situation will require an ancillary probate proceeding in addition to the regular probate process as the state where your descendent resided doesn’t have the legal authority to transfer property located in other states to beneficiaries.

What is ancillary probate?

Ancillary probate is a probate proceeding required in addition to a primary probate proceeding, which occurs in the deceased’s home state. An ancillary probate process is completed as the probate court in the home state doesn’t have legal jurisdiction over property located elsewhere. For example, if real estate is also owned in New York, the property can’t be probated in New Jersey. Ancillary probate may also be required for tangible personal property associated with automobiles, boats or airplanes registered in another state.

Understanding the ancillary probate process

One of the first duties of an executor is to identify the assets owned by a descendent. When a descendent’s property is located in another state, the executor will need to initiate an ancillary probate proceeding in addition to the domiciliary probate process. Other state courts may be cooperative when an ancillary probate proceeding is necessary. An ancillary court may also accept an authorization given to the executive of the domiciliary court. This action is completed to help avoid applying for an additional authorization.

Making it easier to transfer out-of-state properties

Dealing with ancillary probate creates a more significant expense due to court fees and attorney expenses. Fortunately, this additional process can be avoided. Utilizing a living trust allows an out-of-state property to be directly passed to beneficiaries. No ancillary probate is required for these assets.

Understanding ancillary probate and how to avoid it can be highly beneficial in reducing costs and passing more of an estate on to beneficiaries.