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Ancillary probate 101: What is it?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2022 | Probate |

California is a popular location for out-of-state residents to purchase vacation homes and seek shelter from the cold seasons. This second home can be a nice escape for the family – but what happens to the loved one’s special home in California if he or she passed?

The answer may be in your loved one’s will. Probate may be necessary to handle your loved one’s property after death in your home state.

If there is property in California as well, it may have to be probated there.

Two states means two probates

One probate will not cover all of your loved one’s property if their property spans states.

If your loved one owned property in two different states, and died outside of California, then it may require two separate probate cases. The case involving property in California – or outside of your home state, if over $184,500 in California – is called ancillary probate.

This is simply an additional probate specifically for non-residents who owned property in California that deals with said property.

What should you know about ancillary probate?

The basic details of what you should know about ancillary probate fall under the categories of the most common questions in “The 5 Ws,” such as:

  • Why is this necessary? If there is a will, probate proves a will is valid. Ancillary probate does the same, and proves that your loved one owned this property. However, it is also necessary to allow the personal representative to obtain the property in California and the court could order it to be distributed according to the deceased person’s wishes.
  • Who governs this process? The ancillary probate in California is subject to California’s probate code – not your home state’s
  • When should you start this probate case? The ancillary probate can occur at the same time as your home state’s probate. In fact, the two probate courts will often cooperate throughout the process.
  • Where should you start this probate case? Generally, every county has a probate court. Therefore, you should hire an attorney who helps you decide the appropriate place to file.

Ancillary probate is necessary in these cases, but it does not have to be a point of stress for your family. Understanding the basics of this process and seeking guidance from a knowledgeable probate attorney can be critical to manage a probate and its ancillary probate efficiently.