Usually a probate is started in the state where the person (the decedent) died and left assets. Sometimes there are assets in another state which require court ordered authority for the estate administrator to liquidate or gain control over an asset of the estate.
What is an Ancillary Probate?
An ancillary probate is a probate in another state instituted after a person domiciled outside the state of Washington dies, and where the deceased also owns real or tangible property in Washington. If the property is intangible such as with a bank account the foreign personal representative may be able to handle the transfer of the property without an ancillary probate.
However, if real property in Washington is involved or some complication exist, it can be necessary to commence formal probate proceedings in Washington in addition to the probate in the state of residence.
Nonresidential individuals can act as personal representatives in Washington by appointing a resident agent in Washington. The resident agent is frequently their attorney. With appointment of a resident agent, the personal representative of the probate where the decedent resided at the time of his or her death can qualify to act in Washington. A petition for appointment of estate administrator or appointment of personal representative can be filed in Washington and an order appointing them with Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary issued giving the estate administrator the authority they need to liquidate or gain control of assets located in Washington.