When you die while owning property in multiple states other than Minnesota, your loved ones will need to go through a process known as ancillary probate. In other words, they will have to deal with two or more courts, each with different laws regarding the transfer of your estate.
Understanding ancillary probate
Probate is the legal process of distributing a deceased person’s estate. Minnesota state laws govern this process and include filing court documents, identifying and appraising the property of the deceased, paying taxes and debts owed by the deceased and distributing remaining assets to those entitled to them.
Ancillary probate is a special kind of probate that involves applying for a certificate from the court that recognizes your will or trust from another state. Your executor or personal representative will need to familiarize themselves with that state’s law and follow it meticulously to ensure the transfer of property is in accordance with the court’s requirements.
How it works
The process typically involves filing documents with the court, such as a copy of the death certificate, a copy of the will or trust document and a petition asking for an order authorizing the transfer. Depending on the complexity of your estate, you may also need to provide additional information and documentation, such as financial statements, tax returns or other evidence of ownership. The court may also require a bond to ensure that the executor handles the transfer properly.
If the court approves the petition, it will issue a certificate allowing the executor to transfer the property in accordance with the law. The representative must then present the certificate and comply with all relevant laws in that state before transferring the property.
If you want to spare your loved ones the expense and confusion of dealing with two or more courts after your death, you can make arrangements that can do away with the probate court involvement in the distribution of your assets. This can include setting up a living trust in the other state, owning the property with someone else in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship or recording a transfer on death deed for that asset.