If you have been named an executor of an estate for a Pennsylvania decedent, you may have to deal with ancillary probate, even if you don’t have to do so within the state. Why is this necessary, and what are the procedures?
Sometime necessary for other states
If a decedent owns property in another state, the executor may have to go through ancillary probate. This simply means you may go through the probate process in that state. The laws of the state where the property is located typically dictate the procedures an executor must go through. Not everyone leaves property in more than one state, but when this situation happens, state courts usually cooperate with one another to set hearings on property. Nevertheless, the process can still be challenging.
How ancillary probate works
The duties of an executor include gathering all assets and defining which assets are in-state or out-of-state. Ancillary courts often accept authorization so the executor doesn’t have to go through a dual process of applying for an additional authorization, thereby shortening the proceeding. However, having to go through ancillary probate in another state can add to the cost, so if you agree to act as an executor for someone, ask if they have property in another state so you don’t deal with surprises.
Avoiding ancillary probate
Your executor may not be able to avoid ancillary probate entirely after you pass away, but if you provide sufficient information and take proper measures during the estate planning process, you executor may be able to avoid ancillary probate. The key to doing so is proper planning. Without taking the time to get your documents in order while still capable of doing so, you can possibly leave your executor with a mess on their hands if you have property in multiple states.
Similarly, if you are an executor, ask the person who has appointed you if they have made appropriate arrangements for property in other states. The more you know, the better you will be able to recommend the steps you need to perform your tasks properly.