When a person passes away with real property in multiple states, an ancillary proceeding may be necessary. The primary probate proceeding (if the person passed away with a Last Will & Testament) or primary administration proceeding (if the person passed away without a Last Will & Testament) is commenced in the State and County where the person was domiciled prior to passing away. Once the Executor or Administrator is given legal authority from the court, that Executor or Administrator can start an Ancillary Probate or Administration proceeding in the State where the decedent owned real property but was not his primary residence.
Daredevil Dan Example:
Daredevil Dan owns a brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn and a house in Scottsdale, Arizona which he snowbirds to during the cold Brooklyn winters. He is domiciled in Park Slope and he spends the majority of the year at his brownstone. Daredevil Dan went to grab a candy bar from a vending machine, the candy bar got stuck and when Daredevil Dan shook the machine, the machine fell on him, and that was the end of Daredevil Dan. Daredevil Dan went to Miller & Miller Law Group PLLC and created a will that left everything equally to his two friends, Don and Meg. He made Don the executor of his will. Don would have to start a Probate proceeding in Kings County because that is where Daredevil Dan was domiciled. Following the grant of Letters Testamentary by the Kings County Surrogates Court, Don would then have to start an ancillary probate proceeding in Arizona to gain authority to sell or transfer the Scottsdale home.
Probate proceedings and ancillary probate proceedings can end up being very costly due to filing fees and attorney fees. Both a probate proceeding and ancillary probate proceeding can be avoided with the use of a revocable trust.
Daredevil Dan Trust Example:
The facts in the above Daredevil Dan Example are the same, however, instead of creating a will at Miller & Miller Law Group PLLC, Daredevil Dan created a Revocable Living Trust. He deeded both his property in Park Slope, Brooklyn and his property in Scottsdale, Arizona into the trust. The trust terms had Daredevil Dan as the trustee of the trust and upon his passing his friend Don would take over as trustee. The trust terms stated that upon Daredevil Dan’s passing both properties in Arizona and New York would be sold and the proceeds split between Don and Meg. Following Daredevil Dan’s vending machine accident, Don would have legal authority to sell both properties as trustee and would avoid probate in New York and ancillary probate in Arizona.
If you own real property in multiple states, a trust is a great way to avoid probate and ancillary probate. Contact Miller & Miller Law Group PLLC for any questions you may have regarding trusts, probate, and ancillary probate.