20th Jun 2022

One Sentence

If I had to describe why ancillary probate is necessary in one sentence, it would be something like:

“Each State in the United States makes its own rules over the property, especially land, within its borders.”

Expanding a Bit on One Sentence

In the last post, we gave three in-depth examples of ancillary estates in the real world. If you look at each one of these examples, there is property in two, or more, states. When this happens, each state gets to govern the property within that state, including setting rules about deceased owners.

We introduced the concept of the estate in the home state (domiciliary probate) and the estate in a secondary state (ancillary probate) in an earlier post. This is because each state gets to make its own laws setting out the estate process for property in its borders.

No One Tells Oklahoma (or Texas or California or West Virginia, etc.) What To Do

Said another way, a Court in Kansas or Massachusetts or Arizona cannot issue estate orders that distribute property (in particular real property – land, things affixed to land like homes and factories, and things under or a part of land like oil and gas) in Oklahoma. It takes an Oklahoma Court to make estate distribution orders over Oklahoma land. Each state is the master of its own “dirt.”

More Could Be Said, Of Course

One sentence obviously oversimplifies the issues a bit. Even one blog post. Or a series.

But even if there are exceptions to the this rule. Or this post is not full of scholarly nuance on multi-state issues. It is a helpful way to think about the basics.

If someone close to you has died, and these types of issues have you wondering what to do, reach out to me directly at: CoryHicks@FieldAndHicks.com – or any of my contact info on this site.

Or if you own property in multiple states (or have family members or clients who do) and want to plan ahead, reach out to me directly at: CoryHicks@FieldAndHicks.com – or any of my contact info on this site

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