If your deceased relative owned real property in Texas but did not live here or have Texas residency, you might wonder how to transfer the real estate from the decedent’s estate to the person who is to inherit it. Texas has a procedure for transferring the property in this situation.
A Texas estate planning attorney can help you with this legal procedure and answer your questions, like, How do I transfer Texas real estate of a deceased non-resident?
Ancillary Probate of a Foreign Will
The legal procedure for transferring the Texas real estate of a deceased non-resident is called “ancillary probate of a foreign will.” In this context, “foreign” just means that the main probate case is filed in another state, not in Texas. It does not mean that the situation involves a foreign country. For example, if the decedent lived in Oklahoma, the person administering the estate would file the original will in the local court where the person lived in Oklahoma to probate the estate.
Oklahoma cannot distribute real estate located in another state, like Texas. There would have to be a separate proceeding in Texas. A Texas attorney would need to get an authenticated copy of the court documents from the Oklahoma probate case and file those papers in the Texas court where the real property is located in our state. The process is much simpler than having to go through a formal probate case.
Because the other state handled the probate of the estate, in this case, Oklahoma, your Texas lawyer would need to file the Oklahoma court’s order that admitted the will to probate and an authenticated copy of the will. The Texas lawyer would also file an application for ancillary administration and request ancillary Letters Testamentary. Once the Texas court grants the Letters Testamentary, the approved executor of the will has the legal permission and authority to handle the transfer of the Texas real estate.
When You Do Not Need Ancillary Administration
You can use the legal process of ancillary administration after the will got probated or established in another state. If the family did not go through a formal probate process of the original will in the state whether the decedent resided at the time of death, you will need to administer the estate in Texas to transfer the Texas real estate.
The requirement for ancillary administration of the assets of a deceased person who was not a resident of Texas only applies to real property, in other words, land, buildings, and similar items. If the decedent owned other types of property in Texas, like stock certificates of a corporation based in Texas, those things are personal property that can get probated by the decedent’s home state.
If, however, a person owns real estate in several states when they die, that property will have to get probated by each of the states where the real estate is physically located. Only the state where real property is located can distribute, probate, or transfer the property.
We understand that having to go through probate procedures in multiple states can be complicated and frustrating, but you do not have to do the actual work yourself. A Texas estate planning attorney can take care of your ancillary administration matter for you. For legal help, get in touch with our office today, we offer a free consultation.