Q: Legally Separated 5 plus years. Spouse died in another state. Where is probate filed?
A: Probate is started in the state where the person had lived immediately prior to death.
Under California law, the primary factor in determining where probate should be filed is the residency of the deceased at the time of their death. If your spouse was a resident of another state at the time of death, probate proceedings are typically initiated in that state.
However, if they owned real property in California, ancillary probate might be necessary in California for that specific property. Being legally separated does not change the primary location for probate, which is based on the decedent's domicile.
It's important to note that different states have varying laws regarding probate and estate distribution, so the laws of the state where your spouse resided will predominantly apply.
You should consider consulting with an attorney who is knowledgeable in probate law in the state where your spouse lived to navigate the process effectively. They can provide detailed guidance and assist in any required proceedings in California if applicable. Remember, probate laws can be complex, and each situation has unique aspects that need to be considered.
A: There are situations where it is not easy to determine what State a Decedent was domiciled in at death. In those cases good lawyers look at the best venue State to file Probate. This is especially true if there are large creditors of the potential Estate. Consult with an attorney in the State where death occurred and analyze the legal requirements and options. Ancillary Probate may be required after the original Probate. It is very rare but possible to get a Probate dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
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