When dealing with the complexities of estate planning and probate, one term that often arises is ancillary probate.
This secondary probate process can be perplexing, especially if you have assets in multiple states or countries.
1. What is ancillary probate?
Ancillary probate is a legal process that occurs when a person passes away with assets in multiple states or countries. It is an additional probate proceeding conducted in addition to the primary probate process, which typically takes place in the deceased person’s state of residence. Ancillary probate is necessary to transfer ownership of assets located outside the primary jurisdiction, ensuring that the estate’s distribution complies with each location’s specific laws.
2. Why is ancillary probate required?
Ancillary probate resolves the ownership of assets situated in different jurisdictions. Each state or country has its own probate laws, and the primary probate process in the deceased person’s state of residence may not cover out-of-state or international assets. By conducting ancillary probate, the local court in the additional jurisdiction validates the deceased person’s will, appoints an executor or personal representative and oversees the distribution of assets according to the laws of that jurisdiction.
3. Can you avoid ancillary probate?
It is possible to plan your estate to minimize or avoid ancillary probate. Strategies include establishing trusts, consolidating assets in one jurisdiction or using joint ownership arrangements.
While Texas civil courts saw a 96% clearance rate of caseloads between March 2022 and May 2023, the probate process still takes time. Careful estate planning can help streamline the probate process and minimize the burden of ancillary probat