Probate has a bad name. And most people don’t want one, much less two (or
more). But there are instances in which more than one probate proceeding can be necessary. If you die owning real property in a
state other than the state in which you are domiciled, a second ancillary probate
proceeding will be required in that state.
An ancillary probate is not a full probate. Rather, the ancillary probate serves only
to transfer the real property located in the second state. But, an attorney will still
need to be retained (and paid) to file and administer the ancillary probate
It is not uncommon for North Dakotans to own winter homes in Arizona, Texas or
Florida or lake cabins or hunting lodges in other states. These types of assets, if
held in probate form, will be subject to an ancillary probate proceeding.
An ancillary probate proceeding can be avoided for out-of-state real property if it is
transferred into a trust (revocable or otherwise). Alternatively, many states allow the use of a transfer on death
deed, which can serve as a non-probate means of designating who receives the
property on the death of the owner.