Ancillary probate is required when a deceased person owns property in a state different from their primary residence. This process is necessary to legally transfer ownership of out-of-state assets in accordance with the deceased’s will or the state’s intestacy laws.
Despite its necessity in certain situations, ancillary probate can inspire several challenges and complexities.
Inclusion of multiple jurisdictions
The involvement of multiple state jurisdictions can significantly increase the cost and duration of the probate process. Each state has its own set of probate laws and regulations, which might differ considerably. This can lead to a more complicated, lengthy and expensive probate process.
Lack of privacy
The entire process becomes public, with the details of the estate and its distribution becoming part of the public record. For those who value privacy, this aspect of ancillary probate might be particularly concerning.
Increased costs and administrative burdens
The financial burden often requires hiring additional legal professionals and paying separate court fees in each state where the property is located. This can quickly escalate the overall expenses associated with settling an estate. The administrative workload increases as executors navigate different legal systems and comply with state laws and procedures.
Potential for delays and complications
Ancillary probate can also lead to significant delays in settling an estate. The need to adhere to different state laws and probate processes can extend the time required to resolve the estate affairs. In cases where the states’ laws involve conflict, particularly regarding will interpretation and asset distribution, resolving these issues can become complex and time-consuming.
For beneficiaries awaiting the distribution of assets, these delays can be frustrating and financially burdensome. As such, seeking legal guidance proactively is generally wise.