Ancillary probate is a proceeding that is filed with the probate court when a decedent passes away and was a resident of one state and owned property in a different state. Unless the property is part of a trust, the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate will need to file an ancillary probate action in the state where the property is located. For instance, if a decent is a resident of New York and also owns a vacation or retirement home in Florida in their sole name, then an ancillary probate would need to be filed in Florida to transfer the title of the property to the heirs or to sell the property and distribute the sale proceeds to the heirs and beneficiaries. A New York ancillary probate would be filed by the heirs or beneficiaries of a decedent’s estate when the decedent resides in another state other than New York but owned real estate in their sole name in New York.
Since many times heirs reside in another state, are too busy or unfamiliar with New York probate laws, it is more convenient and efficient for them to hire a New York probate attorney to handle the filing of the New York ancillary estate proceedings with the New York Surrogate’s Court, prepare title transfer documents or to assist the personal representative of the estate in the overseeing of the real estate sale proceedings. The attorney can help with recommending a local New York Realtor to list and sell the property and refer other professionals such as an accountant or property manager if the personal representative requires such further assistance.
Avoiding Ancillary Probate
The best way to avoid an ancillary probate is to have a trust in place that holds the title of the real estate in the trust’s name. This way, the family of the decadent does not have to file an ancillary probate in New York to transfer or sell the real estate because it is already in the trust’s name, and the trust dictates how the property will be distributed upon the death of the decedent. This saves the beneficiaries time and money and the stress and worry about title transfer and other matters associated with an ancillary probate.
Ancillary probate matters in New York are complicated and generally require the legal advice of a New York Probate Attorney. The attorney can answer the beneficiary’s questions, attend Court hearings, prepare legal documents and help the personal representative facilitate the probate so that the heirs can receive their distributions and the estate can be wound up.
If you wish to speak to a New York estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.