Before we dive into Ancillary Probate, let’s begin by defining the process of probate.
Probate is the legal process occurring after someone’s death, in which the will is validated and distribution of the estate is conducted pursuant to the terms of the will. If the probate court determines the will to be invalid, the estate will be treated as if a will did not exist. In this case, North Carolina Statute would then decide how to distribute the property. (This is why it’s incredibly valuable to have your will prepared by an attorney!)
Ancillary Probate is an additional process of probate that occurs when a decedent owns property in two or more states. Here’s a common example- Let’s say Marco is a New York resident. He’s lived in New York his whole life and is nearing his 80th birthday. When he retired several years ago, he knew he couldn’t spend one more winter in New York, so he decided to buy a home here in North Carolina. He didn’t purchase just the house. He also bought a fishing boat, some nice fishing rods, and a newer truck that he all keeps in North Carolina for his relaxing days on the lake. When Marco eventually passes away, the executor of his Will needs to complete the probate process for his estate in New York and the Ancillary Probate process for his additional property in North Carolina.
After the probate court begins the distribution of assets within the decedent’s home state, the ancillary probate process would then need to begin in the out-of-state ancillary court. The reason for this process is due to the probate court in the decedent’s home state not having legal jurisdiction over assets that may be residing out-of-state.
To begin this process, the will’s executor will need to provide the out-of-state ancillary probate attorney with the exemplified copies of the probate documents, certified death certificate, and the paid-in-full funeral bill from the home state’s probate court. Once these documents are provided, the ancillary probate attorney will notify any creditors of the decedent’s passing. When the creditors come back with the ‘green light’ so to speak, the ancillary estate can be sold or disbursed, and the estate can finally be closed.
Any decision related to executing the estate of a decedent should be assisted by a probate attorney. Consulting with a probate attorney will make the probate and ancillary probate processes as easy-going for the executor as possible. When consulting with our probate attorneys, there’s no need to travel & no need to stress, we’ll walk you through the entire process and keep you informed through every step. Just get in touch with us for a quick phone consultation, mail the appropriate exemplified documents, and we’ll get started on the Ancillary probate process for you!