What Is Ancillary Probate In New Jersey?


An ancillary probate might be necessary when a decedent who lives outside of New Jersey leaves assets in New Jersey subject to estate administration – property in New Jersey that does not pass by operation of law or by title.

When Do You Need a New Jersey Ancillary Probate?

If an individual that is a nonresident of New Jersey dies leaving property in New Jersey that did not automatically pass to someone else at death, you probably need an ancillary probate.

An ancillary probate is subordinate to the probate or administration occurring in the decedent’s domiciliary jurisdiction.  For example, if a decedent was a resident of Florida and died owning property in New Jersey, the domiciliary probate would be opened in Florida.  Then the ancillary probate would be opened in New Jersey.

Where Do You Open a New Jersey Ancillary Probate?

The New Jersey proceeding can be opened in the county where the decedent’s real or personal property was located.  So, if a nonresident decedent died owning property in Ocean County, the ancillary probate would be opened there.

How Do You Start an Ancillary Probate or Administration In New Jersey?

If a nonresident decedent dies with a valid will, any interested person can file to open ancillary probate if the will was admitted in another jurisdiction.  See N.J.S.A. 3B:3-26:

When the will of any individual not resident in this State at his death shall have been admitted to probate in any state of the United States or other jurisdiction or country, the surrogate’s court of any county may admit it to probate for any purpose and issue letters thereon, provided the will is valid under the laws of this State.

If the will was not admitted to probate in the nonresident decedent’s domiciliary state, then an original probate can be initiated.  Read How Do You Probate a Will In New Jersey?

If a nonresident of New Jersey dies intestate, an ancillary probate can be opened if an administrator was appointed in the domiciliary jurisdiction.  If no administrator was appointed in the domiciliary jurisdiction, then an original probate can be opened.

Read Who Has Priority To Be Appointed as Administrator Of a New Jersey Estate?

Recording Authenticated Domiciliary Documents In Lieu Of Ancillary Probate

Sometimes, if all that needs to be done is convey or prove title of New Jersey real property, probate can be avoided if authenticated copies of the will probated by the domiciliary court and the letters of administration/testamentary issued by the domiciliary court are recorded in the county that the real property is located.  N.J.S.A. 3B:3-27

Read more about New Jersey Probate basics here.



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