Probate jurisdiction (where/how the estate is handled) is based upon where the person who died lived at the time of his or her death. A probate would be in the probate court of the county of the domicile. The fact that the death occurred on a military base will not change that.
I agree with Attorney James. Probate venue is based on two things: 1) residence at time of death, and 2) location of property. If there are assets in more than one state, then ancillary probate might be needed.
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Agree with colleagues. Here is some info you may find helpful.
F. Determining Domicile or Location of Estate of Decedent
§7.20 1. Statutory Requirements
The decedent's estate must be administered (i.e., wills must be proved and letters granted) in the county in which (Prob C §§7051-7052)
• the decedent was domiciled at death (regardless of where the decedent died) (see §7.21);
• the nondomiciliary decedent died and left property; or
• if the nondomiciliary decedent died outside of California or did not leave property in the county in which he or she died, then in any California county in which the nondomiciliary decedent left property.
If the nondomiciliary decedent has property in more than one county and more than one petition is filed, the superior court in the county in which the petition for ancillary administration is first filed has exclusive jurisdiction. Prob C §7052(b).
NOTE: Property includes real and personal property. Prob C §62.
§7.21 2. California Domiciliary Decedent
If the decedent was a California domiciliary, it is still necessary to ascertain the county of domicile at death because the proceedings must be brought in that county. Prob C §7051. Domicile requires a physical presence in a particular place and an intent to make that place one's home. See Estate of Phillips (1969) 269 CA2d 656, 659, 75 CR 301. Residence usually is synonymous with domicile. Normally this will be clear enough, but occasionally, as when the decedent was ill or elderly and moved to live with relatives or in a rest home, or the decedent was in the **** MILITARY ***, the question arises about whether the decedent has changed his or her domicile. See, e.g., Estate of Glassford (1952) 114 CA2d 181, 249 P2d 908. Therefore, before preparing the petition, the attorney should determine the proper county in which to commence the proceeding.
PRACTICE TIP: Be aware that some counties require that proceedings occur in certain geographical subdivisions of the court, depending on which part of the county was the decedent's domicile.
For further discussion of determining domicile, see chaps 11-12.
Source CEB © The Regents of the University of California
Mr.Scalise offers a FREE consultation; he may be reached at 805-244-6850 or by email ([email protected]). My responses to questions posted here intended as helpful legal information not legal advice. The information I post does not create an attorney-client relationship. Mr. Scalise is licensed to practice law in California. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state, and retain him/her.
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