Generally speaking, probates are governed by the state of the decedent’s residence at the time of death. State laws governing probate vary from state to state.
In cases where a decedent owns property, especially real property, in another state, it is usually necessary to open a probate in the other state in which the decedent owns property. In Minnesota, this type of probate is called an ancillary probate.
An ancillary probate is considered to be an extension of the probate in the state of residence. The purpose of an ancillary probate is to give the personal representative appointed in the state of residence the same powers to act in Minnesota as he/she has in the state of residence.
For example, a Wisconsin resident’s estate will need to be probated in the state of Wisconsin. A Minnesota ancillary probate will be required if the Wisconsin resident owns real estate in Minnesota for the Wisconsin personal representative to be able to sell or distribute the real property in Minnesota.
In this example, the petitioner commences a probate in Wisconsin, and then files the Wisconsin probate documents, including the documents appointing the personal representative, with the State of Minnesota to open an ancillary probate.
After a waiting period of 60 days, the Wisconsin personal representative will have the authority to act as personal representative of the estate in Minnesota, which means he/she may sell or distribute the real estate owned by the decedent.