Probate is governed by state law, and each state has its own statutes in place to facilitate a probate court proceeding. Estates with assets in more than one jurisdiction may require multiple probate proceedings. Generally, the primary probate proceeding occurs in the state where the decedent was domiciled at the time of death. If the decedent also owned assets in another state, such as a vacation home, those assets may require an ancillary probate proceeding.
An ancillary probate is a court proceeding in a different state where the decedent owned assets prior to death. Although multiple proceedings may seem expensive and time consuming, the ancillary probate process in Texas is rather simple. Texas probate courts will almost always admit a will already probated in another state for probate in Texas.
Texas allows foreign wills to be admitted into probate if the decedent left property in Texas, and the will has been probated or otherwise established in any other state of the United States. Tex. Est. Code § 501.001 (West 2017). Once a foreign will is admitted into probate, the will has the same effect for all purposes as if the original will had been admitted to probate by order of a court in Texas, subject to contest in the manner and to the extent provided by statute. Tex. Est. Code § 501.005 (West 2017).
When a decedent had assets in more than one state, it is important to contact competent probate attorneys in each state to efficiently navigate the probate process. Fortunately, an ancillary probate proceeding in Texas is a relatively simple process when a foreign will has already been admitted in another state.
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