What is Ancillary Probate

What is Ancillary Probate

Many people have real estate in multiple states, including Nevada vacation homes, rental properties in former homes, and even vehicles with foreign titles. When making an estate plan, you must consider how well you will handle the property. Ancillary probate, a different type of probate, may sometimes be required. Yet, this outcome can be lessened or even prevented with proper estate planning. 

But in this article, we are going to talk about ancillary probate. So keep reading.

Ancillary Probate

When you pass away, the court will transfer your property to the family members and loved ones named within your will (or to the heirs determined by state law if you don’t have a will) through a court process known as a probate proceeding.

Property that you’ve placed in a trust or that, upon your death, automatically passes to that surviving joint owner, like a joint bank account. If you and your spouse own a marital house as joint tenants, it is not subject to probate. Additionally, depending on the circumstances, you may not be required to go through probate if you do not possess any money or property at your death.

If you own property in multiple states, you may need to go through various probate processes when necessary. What happens to your real estate (and occasionally tangible personal property, such as jewelry or a painting) when you pass away is usually determined by the rules of the state in which you own the property.

Examples of intangible personal property that may be subject to probate in a state where the owner was a resident at the time of death include a copyright, trademark, retirement account, or bank account.

The primary (also known as domiciliary) probate process happens in the state where the decedent’s residence was at the time of death. If the decedent also possessed a real estate in another state, an ancillary probate action will likely be required. The court certifies the will’s legality in the primary probate action, admits the will to probate, and then names the executor you specify to handle the estate. The executor finds the property, settles any claim debts, and then distributes it according to the directions specified in your will.

Although state laws differ, in other states, the executor selected in the primary probate proceeding is often permitted by probate courts to file the necessary probate letters issued in the proceeding, along with a court-stamped copy of the will, in the probate court located in the state where the real estate is situated, once the court has determined the legal validity of the will during the primary probate proceeding. The executor can then exert control over the assets within the other state in line with the legal requirements established by that state’s laws, such as distributing them to the beneficiaries in compliance with your will.

How Does Ancillary Probate Work?

When it becomes apparent that the estate contains assets registered or named out of state, if a decedent’s home state has already acknowledged their will for probate, the executor of the “domiciliary” probate case will initiate an ancillary probate proceeding.

State courts frequently collaborate when supplementary probate is required. After the domiciliary court has accepted the “foreign will,” other state courts are likely to follow suit more or less automatically. Sometimes ancillary courts will accept the executor’s requests for authorizations made by the domiciliary court, saving the executor from having to submit two separate requests for authorization. The supplementary probate proceeding might be cut short by this collaboration.

Disadvantages of Ancillary Probate

The additional expense of managing several probate estates, including various accounting fees, court fees, and attorneys’ fees, is one of the main disadvantages of ancillary probate. That is still possible even when the state courts work together to expedite the procedure because it can drain the estate’s financial reserves or inventory.

Another disadvantage may arise when such an estate becomes intestate, which means the deceased passed away without a legal final will and testament. The deceased’s property is distributed under intestacy laws if there is no will.

It will be difficult if the rightful successors of an intestate estate live in a different state than where the intestate estate is domiciled.


How Does Ancillary Probate Differ from Regular Probate?

An ancillary probate is a form of probate utilized when the deceased individual possesses property in multiple states.

Ancillary probate may be necessary if the deceased individual owns property in multiple states, such as a vacation home in another state or property held for investment purposes. The relevant state(s) use ancillary probate to probate the deceased person’s property in their jurisdiction. It is significant to highlight that ancillary probate is distinct from traditional probate and only applies when the decedent owns property in more than one state. In contrast, regular probate is infrequently when a deceased person owns property in a single state.

There are a few key differences between ancillary probate and regular probate. First, ancillary probate can be more expensive than regular probate. It is because it usually requires the services of an attorney in each state where the deceased person owns the property. 

Additionally, ancillary probate can take longer to complete than regular probate. That is because it often involves coordinating with multiple attorneys and courts in different states.

Overall, ancillary probate can be more complex and time-consuming than regular probate. However, it is often necessary when the deceased person owns property in multiple states. 

If you find yourself in this situation, it is essential to seek out the help of an experienced attorney to guide you through the process.

How Can It Be Avoided?

Joint ownership

If you jointly own property with another person, such as through tenancy in the entirety, joint tenancy with right of survivorship, or community property with such a right of survivorship, that asset will automatically transfer to the joint owner without the need for a probate procedure. 

This type of ownership transfer, typically involving bank accounts, real estate, cars, and other valuable goods, is transferable without probate. The surviving owner usually only needs to complete the required paperwork and file it with the government agency that has recorded the title or deed, the financial institution holding the joint account, or other similar organizations.

Even though joint ownership of assets avoids the probate process and may appear like a simple and quick way to transfer property, the money or asset is now open to the divorcing spouse, creditors, or bankruptcy of the surviving owner.

Transfer-on-death deed

A transfer-on-death deed, also known as a beneficiary deed, is a particular sort of deed you can submit to the local real estate records office in a few states. Still, it won’t take effect until your death. In contrast to shared ownership, you are the sole owner of the property throughout your lifetime. You can cancel the deed at any moment before you pass away. When you pass away, the person(s) listed in the deed immediately becomes the owner of the property, avoiding the need for a probate process. The transfer of real estate through a transfer-on-death deed is similar to the transfer of joint property in that it offers no security for the real estate. It can leave it open to the creditors of the new owner.

Revocable living trust.

By transferring the title to the property in the other state to a revocable living trust while still alive, it is possible to avoid ancillary probate. That is because the trust holds the title to the property, not the individual. Since the trust remains after the individual’s death, probate is not required. 

Additionally, suppose the individual wishes to avoid probate entirely. In that case, they can transfer their accounts and deeds to their real estate in their home state to the trust.

Choose to act as the trustee representative. You can maintain total control over the assets and even cancel the trust at any moment while you are still alive. 

It only becomes irrevocable after you are deceased or if you become mentally incapable of doing so. Your replacement trustee or conservator may continue to administer and distribute funds for your benefit.

At the same time, you are still alive and unable to function as a trustee. When and in what manner you stated in the trust document are followed by the successor administration in distributing the assets to your loved ones and family after your passing.

Probate Attorney


Ancillary probate is an essential tool for executors of estates and those dealing with a deceased person’s inheritances. It provides a way to collect and distribute assets in one state, but the deceased person resided in another. 

Ensuring proper distribution of all assets according to the law is essential. While the ancillary probate process can be complicated and time-consuming, it helps to achieve this goal.

With ancillary probate, executors can quickly and efficiently settle the deceased’s estate without unnecessary delays. This process can provide a sense of closure to the family and allow them to move forward in the grieving process.

If you require help with your probate, The Giuliani Law Firm is here for you to help. If you want more details or have any questions, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment or consultation with us. You may call us at (702) 388-9800.

For more information on how https://probateattorneyvegas.com/ can help you on your Probate, please contact us at (702) 388-9800, or visit us here:

The Giuliani Law Firm

500 N Rainbow Blvd #300, Las Vegas, NV 89107, United States

(702) 388-9800

Probate Attorney Las Vegas

Call Now