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What Is Ancillary Probate in Maryland?

When someone passes away in Maryland, their estate typically goes through probate, but if the deceased person owned real estate or other assets in another state, ancillary probate may be required to transfer ownership of those assets to their heirs or legatees.


The primary probate process occurs in the state where the deceased person permanently resided, where the bulk of their estate is administered, including the distribution of personal property and the resolution of debts.


Ancillary probate is a separate legal proceeding from the primary probate and typically involves appointing a personal representative (aka executor) to handle the estate in the state where the property or assets are located. Like primary probate, the out-of-state property is inventoried, appraised, and distributed according to the terms of the deceased person’s will or the state’s intestacy laws if there is no will.


Once this process is complete, the personal representative can transfer ownership of the property to the designated beneficiaries. This may involve filing additional paperwork, such as a deed, with Land Records.


Ancillary probate can add complexity and additional costs to the estate administration process as it requires coordination between multiple jurisdictions. However, it is necessary to ensure that property located in other states is properly transferred to the rightful beneficiaries.


Working with an experienced probate attorney will streamline the ancillary probate process and ensure compliance with state laws. For a free, confidential conversation to discuss ancillary probate or the probate process in general, contact Maryland estate attorney Stephen J. Reichert at 410-299-4959 or


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