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Where to probate out-of-state property

Every executor comes to the estate administration process with a different amount of estate administration experience. Many people have no estate administration experience at all. Others have administered one or two estates before, and some have lots of experience with administering estates. Given the varying levels of experience people have, it is important that estate executors be familiar with the various duties and obligations of their position.

One question that many estate administrators may have is what state the estate should be probated in. For most Pittsburgh executors the answer will be simple: Pennsylvania. But what if the estate contains real property in more than one state? This is commonly encountered for vacation property. Should out-of-state property be probated in Pennsylvania as well?

Real estate is probated according to the law of the state in which the real estate is located. This means that a Pennsylvania probate proceeding may not be valid for out-of-state property. Instead, it may be necessary to probate the out-of-state property in an ancillary proceeding in the state where the property is. An ancillary proceeding is a probate proceeding that only deals with the property in question instead of the full estate. It may be necessary to secure legal counsel in that state for representation at the ancillary proceeding.

The probate of a will is sometimes a complex process. Much of the deceased person's estate must be gathered, managed properly and distributed to the beneficiaries. The deceased person's bills must be paid as well, and unhappy heirs and beneficiaries may have to be dealt with. Many executors find legal assistance to be very helpful during this time.

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