The assets you’ve built up over the course of your life will eventually pass through the probate process after you pass away. Unfortunately, that process can become much more complex if those assets exist in multiple states, especially when dealing with real estate.
How Does an Ancillary Estate Proceeding Work?
Real estate laws and probate processes vary between states. That means that two different probate courts may be involved if you own property in one state and then die while a full-time resident of a different state.
For instance, say you bought rental units or a vacation home in New York and then moved to a different state to retire. After you pass away, probate will begin in whichever home state you lived in to determine what should happen to your estate. The process hits a snag, however, when it comes to your real estate in New York. Before probate can proceed, an ancillary estate proceeding must occur, which consists of these steps:
- The executor of your estate files a petition identifying your property in New York and requesting jurisdiction.
- Both potential beneficiaries or heirs and potential creditors of the property are included in the filing, as well as documents from the home state’s probate proceedings.
- Your home state probate court sends ancillary letters to your representative for the New York property, allowing that person to act on your estate’s behalf.
- The New York representative can then follow your wishes, such as selling the property and dividing the proceeds to your children.
Obviously, this multi-state process can become complicated and time-consuming. That’s why it’s important to draft a will and come up with a comprehensive estate plan ahead of time to ensure your wishes are honored. In some cases, either joint ownership or placing property in a trust can be helpful in avoiding or simplifying this lengthy and costly process.
Get Help From an Experienced Probate Lawyer
Your best option is to work with a New York probate attorney well in advance to plan for these proceedings while you are still alive, but we can still help even if a loved one has already passed away and ancillary estate proceedings are necessary.
Do you have questions about the probate process and ancillary estate proceedings? Get in touch with Alatsas Law Firm to set up a consultation and let us know how we can help.