Your deceased parents or other loved ones may have sought relief from harsh Louisiana summers, the extreme heat and humidity, and the constant threat of storms by escaping to a calmer northern state. On the other hand, if they called another state their home, they may have traveled down here to enjoy warmer temperatures in the winter. No matter the reason why they divided their time between states, you may have a complex succession to deal with if they owned property in both those states.
Succession, called probate in other states, is the legal process for changing ownership of your loved one’s assets after they die. Through the succession process, the executor of the estate pays your loved ones’ final debts and closes any lingering accounts before dividing the assets according to a will or state law. However, assets titled in a state other than your parents’ home state will likely have to go through an ancillary probate.
Why two probates?
Laws regarding probate may be slightly different in each state, so the succession laws in Louisiana have no precedence over any property titled in another state. Not only homes and land but other assets that may have titles in another state may be subject to ancillary probate. This may include livestock, vehicles, airplanes, boats or mineral rights.
In most cases, state probate courts work with the state where the primary probate occurs. For example, they may accept the home court’s authorization of an executor or accept a will that is not valid by the ancillary state’s standards.
Time and money
If you are the executor of your parents’ estate, you must initiate ancillary probate immediately after learning your loved one held property in another state. You may know this already, so it should occur early in the succession process. You can expect complications to arise, such as a serious delay in the distribution of inheritances or, if your loved ones left no will, different laws of inheritance in each state. Ancillary probate may be quite expensive, too, since the estate will be paying fees for two separate succession processes.
To avoid ancillary probate, your loved ones may have placed their out-of-state properties in a trust or utilized other estate planning strategies. If this is not the case, you would be wise to obtain as much information as possible about the succession or probate laws in both states so you will know what to expect from the long and complex process.