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If I Own Property in Several States How Does Probate Work?

By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

As an attorney my job is to apply my expertise, knowledge and experience to help individuals in Idaho solve their Estate Planning and probate problems. Often, when I meet with individuals, they have a series of questions that are specific to their circumstances. I really enjoy when clients come in with specific questions because then I feel like I can help them solve their actual problems and concerns. One question I am often asked by my more affluent clients is that when they own property in different state how does probate work?


The first and most important rule that you should always remember is that a probate must be filed where a person actually resided. This means that where the person spent most of their time or where they mainly lived is going to be the location or state where their probate must be file.

Sometimes people will divide their time between several areas where they have different homes. However a person is required to declare a residency for purposes of paying state taxes and this is typically where they are considered to live. This then would be the place where the original probate would be file.


The Next Step then is to determine if there is real estate or real property in another state. When this occurs a supplemental probate will likely need to be filed. The supplemental probate simply identifies the probate that has already been filed and personal representative who was appointed In the state where the decedent resided. The supplemental probate then asked the court to recognize the original probate and to allow the personal representative to deal with property located within the second state.

The personal representative that has the ability to deal with all the property that is located in that state. They can sign deeds and transfer property. They can’t administer bank accounts and make payments to creditors that reside within that state. This is all done under the authority of the state where that property is located..


A supplemental probate in a different state really is required only in instances where there are significant assets, and or where there is real estate. If there are only a few small personal property items that are located there a personal representative can simply go and take control of those items and bring them back to the state or the original probate was filed. In this way the personal representative can do the inventory and accounting that is required and can make distributions under the directions of the last will and testament of the person who died.

If you have questions about how a probate works with property in different states, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at We will answer your Idaho Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.

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