If you’re the executor of an estate belonging to someone who just passed away, you’re probably beginning to feel the weight of the responsibility you’ve agreed to take on. You hope there aren’t any surprises, but there always are.
One of these surprises can be learning that the deceased owned property outside of Kentucky. That could result in the need for something called ancillary probate. That involves a probate process outside the main one in the domiciliary state where they lived and most of their property is located.
It’s possible to avoid ancillary probate
In a best case scenario, they remembered to include that property in their estate plan or titled it in a way that doesn’t require ancillary probate. You can avoid ancillary probate in the same way you can avoid any probate. This could be by including the property in a living trust rather than a will or by having it in joint ownership with someone else who would immediately take sole ownership. That can also be accomplished by a transfer-on-death (TOD) or payable-on-death (POD) designation.
If the out-of-state property, whether it’s a home, boat, bank account or other asset, has to go through probate, the good news is that ancillary probate often isn’t a complicated process if there’s a well-crafted estate plan. Most probate courts will accept an estate plan that’s been accepted by a probate court in the domicile state unless there’s a significant and relevant difference in the state laws.
If you’re dealing with unexpected circumstances or just need some guidance as an executor to help ensure that you’re lawfully and thoroughly fulfilling your responsibilities as executor, it can help to consult with legal and other professionals.