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How Probate Works With Property in Different States

Our Idaho Probate attorneys understand how difficult it is when a loved one passes away. Our goal is to assist family members through the process in Idaho in the simplest way possible. As we describe in our web site, Probate is the legal process of collecting and managing the assets of a person who has passed away as well as paying their debts or taxes, and making distributions of their property to others. One question our lawyers in Idaho are asked is how probate works when the decedent owned property in different states?

Our team of Probate attorneys in Idaho use their experience to advise and assist our clients through every aspect of the process in Idaho, including handling and distributing property that is located in different states. Our partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson, and attorneys Nathan Palmer and Dave Bagley create our award winning team of Idaho Attorneys who can help you. Here are three important things to understand about the process when a person dies with property that is located in different states.

1. Original Probate is Filed Where Person Resided

The first and most important thing to understand about the probate process is that the law requires the petition to be filed in the state and county where the person actually lived when they died. This means that the location where the person spent most of their time or where they mainly lived is going to be where the petition must be filed. The law defines this as “residency.” Additionally, the laws state that the residency of the decedent determines which state, and county, and court for that matter, has proper jurisdiction to oversee the distribution of the property of the decedent. The purpose of defining jurisdiction is to avoid having individuals file competing probates for a decedent. It allows for the orderly and proper administration of the decedent’s estate.

The problem is that we live in a mobile society. Today, many people divide their time and may live in several areas where they have different homes or property. For example, a person may live in different areas during the summer and the winter. However, every person in the United States is required to declare a residency for purposes of paying state taxes. Once this is done, the chosen state is typically where this person lives and is determined to have residency. This then would be the place where the original petition would be filed for this person when they die.

2. A Supplemental Probate may be Filed in Other States

After determining residency of the decedent, the next step is to determine whether there is real estate or real property owned by the decedent in another state. When this occurs a supplemental proceeding will likely need to be filed in the state where the additional property is located. A supplemental proceeding simply identifies the original probate that has already been filed and the Personal Representative who was appointed in the state where the decedent resided. The supplemental proceeding then asks the court to recognize the original appointments and to allow the same Personal Representative to deal with property located within the second state.

Once the supplemental proceeding is approved, the Personal Representative has the proper authority to deal with all the property that is located in the second state. This gives the Personal Representative the power to sign deeds and to either sell or to transfer the property. They can also 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, through the supplemental proceeding.

3. Property Other Than Land Does not Require a Supplemental Probate

The final thing to understand about completing a supplemental proceeding in a different state is that it 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 in the second state the Personal Representative can simply go and take control of those items and bring them back to the state where 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.

However, if another person claims an interest in the property, regardless of whether is it significant or not, or real estate or not, a supplemental proceeding may be required to resolve the dispute. Supplemental proceedings do cost money because the require the assistance of an attorney located in the state where the property is held. The costs also vary from state to state depending on the rates charged by the attorneys and the fees associated with filing petitions in court.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

If you have a loved one who recently passed away that owned property in more than one state, or if you have questions about the process in Idaho, or a supplemental proceeding in another state we can help. We are available to answer your questions and discuss your concerns at an initial consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation with the Racine Olson team of Probate attorneys in Idaho. You can also email us directly at We will answer your Idaho Probate and/or Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho legal problems.

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