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Multi-State Probate

I generally say a probate is not the worst thing in the world. However, when it comes to a multi-state probate it can be a real nightmare!  It can be something you, or more aptly put your loved ones, would want to avoid!  It’s easy to slip into a multi-state probate.  The most typical cases I see are where people own property in multiple-states at death. This is often a vacation home in Hawaii, a rental property in Arizona, ranch land in Texas, or other similar properties in addition to the decedent’s main property in California. Of course it can also be the other way around. A person moves from California to retire in Oregon or Arizona and leaves behind their California property as a rental. In all of these instances, if proper estate planning is not done, there will be a multi-state probate or more accurately called a “ancillary probate.”

In an ancillary probate there is a domiciliary state (the home state of the decedent) and a ancillary state (the other state where property is owned). In most instances probate petitions are filed in the probate courts of BOTH STATES!  Also, you probably guessed this already, and TWO attorneys.  Oh ya, and TWO attorney fees!

This can all be avoided with proper estate planning.  If you own property in more than one state you should have a living trust.  It should be prepared by a licensed and trained estate planning attorney.

If you have any questions about an ancillary probate you have fallen into let me know.  Likewise, if you want to avoid a multi-state probate after death let me know!

-John