Ancillary Probate: When it is necessary and how to avoid it

If you were to survey the general public about a topic like probate you may find that many people don’t quite know what it means. Interestingly, you’ll probably also find that it is almost universally considered something to avoid. This reputation is warranted for a process that often unnecessarily saps its participants of time and money.

Well, it is time to add another component to probate which makes it undesirable. Ancillary probate. An ancillary probate is exactly what it sounds like. It is a supplemental probate proceeding under the umbrella of a bigger probate estate. It is most commonly used when a probate estate needs to be reopened or when a decedent owns property in more than one state. The latter situation provides us with another opportunity to advise people to take the necessary steps to avoid this type of hassle.

Imagine this far-fetched scenario. An individual moves from another part of the country to Arizona to retire. Upon moving here, this individual lives a modest life with a typical estate plan including a will. When this person dies, his heirs begin the expensive process of probating the estate.