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Does an Estate Need Ancillary Administration?

An estate requires ancillary administration if it has real estate subject to probate located in a state other than the decedent’s state of domicile. As executor of such an estate, you must have ancillary administration in that other state, but only with regard to that real property. In many cases, a decedent had more than one residence or owned real estate in more than one state, requiring you as executor to obtain ancillary administration.

You usually only need to have ancillary administration if the decedent held real estate that’s subject to probate in another state. In that state, the will is referred to as a foreign will, and you’re a foreign executor. As such, you may need to appoint an agent who is a resident of that state for service of process, a procedure used to give legal notice.

You provide the foreign court with an authenticated copy of your appointment as executor and of your bond, and follow that court’s procedures for distribution or sale of the real estate.

All other tangible and intangible assets, whether located in the state where the decedent resided most of the year, in another state or country where the decedent lived part of the year, or even in a third, non-related state or country, are subject to probate in the decedent’s state of domicile.

So, for example, if your decedent lived in Massachusetts but had bank accounts in Florida, the Florida bank would recognize your authority as executor appointed in Massachusetts. The Florida bank would deliver the contents of those accounts in accordance with your instructions.

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