An ancillary probate might be required in Pennsylvania if a nonresident decedent dies while owning property in Pennsylvania.
Most of the time an ancillary probate in Pennsylvania is required when the decedent owns real property in Pennsylvania, but an ancillary probate can also be necessary when a nonresident decedent dies with personal property titled or located in Pennsylvania.
For a Pennsylvania Ancillary Probate, Administration In Decedent’s Domicile Is Required
In Pennsylvania, an ancillary probate is only permitted when an estate is open in the decedent’s home state. If there is no pending domiciliary proceeding, then a regular, as opposed to ancillary, probate can be opened in Pennsylvania to probate the nonresident decedent’s property.
How Do You Administer an Ancillary Probate In Pennsylvania?
The way an ancillary probate is administered in Pennsylvania depends on whether the decedent died with or without a will.
If the nonresident decedent died with a will, then the there are two options for proceeding with ancillary probate in Pennsylvania. If a nonresident decedent died intestate, there is only one option.
Section 3136 of the Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries Code
The first option available when a nonresident dies with a valid will is to administer the ancillary estate under section 3136 of the Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries (“DEF”) Code. The foreign personal representative must file an authenticated copy of the will proved in the decedent’s home domicile. The will must be filed in the county in which the decedent’s property is located.
In some circumstances the will must be proved in Pennsylvania. If an authenticated copy of the record of the probate of the original will is not submitted to the Pennsylvania court, then the will must be proved in Pennsylvania by the oath of two witnesses.
Section 4101 of the Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries Code
The second option for ancillary administration when the nonresident decedent dies with a will is to administer the Pennsylvania ancillary estate under section 4101 of the DEF Code. If the nonresident decedent died without a will, then the ancillary probate can only proceed under section 4101 of the DEF Code.
In order to proceed with an ancillary probate under section 4101 of the DEF Code, the foreign fiduciary must file with the Register of Wills in the appropriate county:
- An exemplified copy of the foreign fiduciary’s appointment or qualification.
- An exemplified copy of the will or other instrument, if any, under which the foreign fiduciary has been appointed or qualified.
- An affidavit stating that the estate is not indebted to any person in Pennsylvania, and that the foreign fiduciary will not exercise any power which the foreign fiduciary would not be permitted to exercise in the domiciliary jurisdiction.
- An exemplified copy of the foreign fiduciary’s bond, if applicable.
A foreign fiduciary is not allowed to exercise his or her powers in Pennsylvania until one month has passed from the decedent’s death. 20 Pa. C.S.A. § 4101. See other Deadlines and Timelines In Pennsylvania Probate.
What Is The Proper Venue For an Ancillary Probate Proceeding In Pennsylvania?
If the nonresident decedent owned property in one county in Pennsylvania, then the proper venue for the ancillary probate is the county where the property is located. 20 Pa. C.S.A. §3131.
If the nonresident decedent owned property in more than one county in Pennsylvania, then venue is proper in any county where the property is located.
If the decedent did not own property in any Pennsylvania county, then the probate can be opened in any county.
A Pennsylvania probate attorney can advise you as to the necessity of an ancillary probate in Pennsylvania.