How you can avoid ancillary probate in in California

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2023 | Trust And Probate Litigation

If you own property in states besides California, you should address this issue during estate planning. If you do not, the executor of your estate must go through the ancillary probate process to settle your assets. Consider the following steps to ease things for your heirs after your passing.

When is ancillary probate necessary?

Ancillary probate occurs when a person dies when they have property such as a second home, land or another real estate in a state where they do not reside. It applies to all tangible property, including vehicles and boats registered in other states. Probate begins in the home state of someone who dies, yet the decedent’s executor or personal representative is responsible for initiating ancillary probate in other states where that person may have owned property. That process must occur in every state where the decedent owned property.

Although some minor processes may vary among states, one can expect to prove the will and recognize the letters of testamentary that authorize the executor’s role. The executor must identify assets in the state, pay debts and taxes, notify beneficiaries and distribute assets.

How to avoid ancillary probate

One of the best ways to ensure that your executor doesn’t have to go through ancillary probate is through your estate plan. You can avoid ancillary probate by ensuring you aren’t the sole property owner. In other words, make sure your spouse, or another trusted person in your state, owns the property with you. If that’s not practical, put the property in question in a trust, so you technically don’t own it. Making one of these moves can make the estate administration process easier for your executor.

Avoiding probate is easier than you think. All it takes is some forethought on your part when going through the estate process. Even if you add assets in other states after writing your will, you can still avoid probate by ensuring the property has another individual’s name on the deed or by creating a new trust.