A Comprehensive Guide To Out-of-State Probate

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After a family death, the last thing you want to deal with is an out-of-state probate. The Law Office of Paul Black offers information and advice on call.

Author: Paul Black

Paul’s experience as the son of two parents with big health challenges is what led him to the work he does today and gives him first-hand knowledge of the challenges that many caregivers and family members face. After graduation from GSU Law, Paul was chosen from dozens of applicants nationwide as one of three 2010-2011 Borchard Foundation Law & Aging Fellows. Paul has been named as  a SuperLawyers “Rising Star” in the area of Estate Planning and as a member of Georgia’s “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend magazine. Published on: November 03, 2022.

Probate Property in Another State

Probate Property in Another State

It’s never too early to start planning for your family’s future.

If you have questions, I’m here to help. There is no commitment and we provide free initial 15-minute phone calls. We look forward to meeting you.

It’s never too early to start planning for your family’s future.

If you have questions, I’m here to help. There is no commitment, and we provide free initial 15-minute phone calls. We look forward to meeting you.

A probate proceeding can be stressful, especially when it is mishandled. If you handle it correctly, you can reduce stress and ensure that family issues do not arise.

Out-of-state probate is necessary if your loved one passes away and owns property in other states. A probate lawyer in Atlanta with experience in estate administration can help you understand the out-of-state probate process well and compile all the documents you need to present to the probate court.


Can You Probate a Will in Another State?

You can probate a will in another state if the deceased person has properties such as real estate, vacation property, oil, gas, mineral rights, or personal property in another state. However, probate laws vary from state to state, so it is vital to consult an experienced estate planning attorney to help you handle your case.

The Probate Process

Probate is the process of distributing assets left by a decedent, such as bank accounts, real estate, or financial investments. Probate proceedings are conducted to settle the estate of the deceased. The probate court ensures the deceased’s debts are cleared, and the remaining assets go to the beneficiaries before dissolving the estate. Regardless of whether a deceased person left a will or not, probate is often necessary for the administration of the estate.

The process is time-consuming, and there is no room for mistakes because they may lead to issues between the beneficiaries. Hence, you need to understand what to expect during probate so that you do not get confused in the middle of the process or get impatient when it takes too much time. 

What Happens During Probate?

Step 1: Opening Probate

The executor of the will or the representative appointed by the court should open probate in the deceased state. To initiate the probate process, the executor should provide a valid death certificate to the probate court.

The executor should also hand over the estate planning documents, such as the last will and trust documents.

The executor needs to open probate in the deceased person’s state of residence (in this case Georgia) and in other states where they owned property.

The state courts cooperate to ensure these cases go smoothly, but it costs more than regular probate cases. It also takes more time.

Step 2: Authenticating Documents

This process ensures all the documents submitted by the executor are authentic. The court also ensures that the will was created per the deceased person’s state law and that witnesses were present.

Step 3: Sending Notices

The third step is to notify all the concerned parties. Remember that a family member may sue the executor if they were not told, increasing the time it will take to execute the will.

So make sure all the interested parties receive a notification, those include family members and creditors.

Step 4: Determining the Value of the Estate

Inventory is an essential phase in the probate process. A property appraisal and examining bank accounts and cash life insurance policies are required to determine the worth of the deceased estate.

Step 5: Asset Distribution

This is the step that takes time. The executor’s first duty is to settle debts the deceased left behind. The will executor also oversees selling assets or real property as indicated in the will.

Once the debts are settled, the remaining assets should be distributed among the beneficiaries. After debts are paid and the assets distributed, the last step is to dissolve the estate, and the executor files a petition with the court to dissolve the estate.

Ancillary Probate Process

Cases involving deceased individuals who owned property in one state are easier to handle and take less time to handle. However, dealing with properties in more than one state takes more time.

Apart from opening probate in the deceased person’s state of residence, you need to also open ancillary probate in the other states where they owned property.

Therefore, probate proceedings may take a year or more and cost more in court fees and attorney fees. So can you avoid ancillary probate? Yes!

Ancillary Probate Process Steps: What Happens Next?

The steps for ancillary probate may vary slightly depending on where the property is located. You should consult the laws of the state where ancillary probate is anticipated to take place to ensure that you follow all necessary guidelines correctly. Some states may require documentation that the main probate process is underway in the state where the decedent resided.

Probate Court in the state where you reside will have to accept your will as part of the main probate process. Most states accept this as sufficient proof of a foreign will and don’t require any further evidence. Some states may then require a letter of authority from the main probate court.

How to Avoid Ancillary Probate

You can avoid ancillary probate by avoiding sole ownership of property in another state or transferring property without going through probate. Ancillary administration can be avoided in three different ways:

  • All properties in states where you do not reside should be jointly owned
  • Transfer your property to a revocable living trust before you die
  • If your state allows it, you should file a transfer-on-death deed for the property

However, some of the above strategies will reduce the value of your property, so make sure you consult your attorney about how to simplify or avoid out-of-state probate. Your attorney will help you understand the nature of your case, your available options and guide you through the process.


Contact a Probate Lawyer For Out of State Probate Case


Probate laws vary from state to state, and an experienced probate attorney can help you navigate the process. So how do you get an attorney who understands how probate courts work and how to handle the transfer of out-of-state property?

For questions regarding probate time limit or other aspects of out-of-state probate issues, contact our law firm, and your probate case will be in good hands.

Contact The Law Office of Paul Black today and let us help you deal with domiciliary probate and ancillary probate proceedings to reduce the stress you are dealing with after the loss of a loved one.

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