Written by attorney Konstantinos Volakos

An Overview of Ancillary Probate in New York

Ancillary probate is that area of law that deals with out of state property owned by a decedent and how it is managed and liquidated. Real property is subject to the laws of the state for where it is located.

When a person dies, his or her estate will go into probate. During probate the executor or personal representative will be named. Once that person is identified and confirmed it will be their job to see to it that the decedent’s affairs are handled according to their wishes. Such affairs will typically involve heirlooms, motor vehicles, taxes, debts, real estate etc.

What happens when the decedent has real estate in another state? Real estate property is governed by the laws for the state that it is located in; therefore, if the decedent owned property in another state than where they live, then the executor is going to have to open what is called an “ancillary probate" proceeding in the state where the property is located.

Ancillary probate is a secondary probate proceeding that occurs in a state where the decedent did not live, but where they owned real estate property. The way it works is that the laws where the real estate property is located will govern what will happen to the out of state property, not the laws where the decedent lived at the time of their death. Therefore, the process is referred to as ancillary probate.

Once the person dies, their real estate property will pass to the decedent’s estate. As an executor or trust administrator, or personal representative, it will be your job to see to it that the estates assets are valued, liquidated and distributed amongst the estate’s heirs, beneficiaries and creditors. However, any out of state property will be handled differently. If the decedent lived out of state and they owned property in New York, it will be necessary to contact a New York attorney who can assist you with opening an ancillary probate or administration proceeding.

A New York real estate attorney will be familiar with the probate and real estate laws in New York. They will be able to assist you with the location, inventory and liquidation of any residences, condos, townhomes, co-op apartments or commercial property located in New York. Until the administrator or personal representative files an “ancillary probate or administration" proceeding in the county where the property is located, they will have no legal authority to liquidate the property; therefore, filing the necessary paperwork is a vital and necessary tool to moving along with one’s fiduciary duties.

Additional resources provided by the author

The Volakos Law Firm, P.C. is a Long Island real estate law firm that can assist out of state clients in real estate partition action litigation, or ancillary probate proceedings. The firm also offers a number of other real estate services including: real estate transactions, real estate litigation, as well as foreclosure defense, loan modification, short sales and bankruptcy. As a full service real estate law firm which is closely familiar with New York real estate laws, they are more than willing to assist their out of state clients with all of their real estate needs including ancillary probate proceedings. For more information about the services the firm has to offer please contact a Long Island real estate attorney by calling (888) 484-0305 or you can visit the firm’s website at

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