Losing a loved one is an emotional and life-changing experience. You might be tasked with the responsibility of settling the estate while also grieving your loss. It can be a challenging time in anyone’s life. However, it becomes complicated when you must go through probate for out-of-state property.
Many people move to various states throughout their lifetime. Updates to the will, trust, and other documents are necessary when that happens. The changes need to reflect the laws in those particular states and the correct procedures for estate planning.
Out-of-state probate can be confusing to navigate alone. It may be crucial to hire an estate planning lawyer so you understand the steps you must take. You need legal guidance to ensure you and your loved one’s beneficiaries receive all the assets left behind.
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What Is Probate?
The probate process starts when someone passes away, and the court needs to review and validate their will. Once a probate judge determines the estate is valid, and the will was executed correctly, the appointed executor or administrator can proceed with paying owed debts, transferring assets to named beneficiaries, and managing the other aspects of closing out an estate.
Probate laws differ depending on the state where the assets are held. Even if you and the deceased lived in the same state, they might have property elsewhere, leaving you with multiple probate cases to handle. While the procedure for administering their estate where you reside might be straightforward, probate in another state could be more complex.
Elements of Ancillary Probate
Entering a will that includes assets from another state into probate requires ancillary probate. Ancillary probate is when probate occurs in multiple jurisdictions. Probate is required in each state where the deceased owned property. The probate judge in one state has no legal jurisdiction over assets in another state. That’s why separate probate procedures must coincide.
It doesn’t matter where the decedent lived at the time of their death. The state where the assets are located physically determines the type of probate process surviving family must undergo to administer the estate. They are required to enter probate according to those specific laws in each state that contains the decedent’s assets.
How to Navigate Ancillary Probate
You could avoid ancillary probate if you discuss the challenges with your loved one. They might have told you about their estate plan and the property they plan to leave you. If there are different assets in multiple states, you should ask them to consider transferring them to one state, or possibly into a trust, so you don’t face several probate cases at once.
If you have to go through out-of-state probate, you should understand how it works. The executor of the probate proceeding will initiate an ancillary probate process for out-of-state property upon entering the will into probate in the deceased’s state of residence.
The courts will typically cooperate when an estate plan involves property held in multiple states. Some states accept the out-of-state will more readily than others. Additionally, ancillary courts will often accept an authorization the executor receives from the original probate court so the executor can avoid applying for an additional authorization.
Should you become the executor of an estate, reach out to our probate lawyers immediately. If you discover you must go through out-of-state probate, you need an experienced legal team to guide you through the procedure and advise how to handle each step.
We are here to help you finalize your family member’s affairs so that you can move through the process in the least stressful way possible. Simply contact our Essex County probate lawyers at (978) 825-0033 if you need assistance.