It is not uncommon for people to own property in another state – that is, a state different from the state in which they make their primary home. These may be vacation homes in a neighboring state. With job-related relocations being fairly common, some families elect to hang onto property that is likely to appreciate in value when they move away rather than sell it. In these situations, having a clear estate plan to transfer assets can be extremely helpful.
What is Ancillary Probate?
Upon a person’s death, a probate court may need to review the contents of that person’s will, particularly if that person owns property. The primary probate will take place where that person was domiciled, and most likely where that person owns property.
In addition to that main probate, if there is real property in the will that is located in a different state than where the deceased person was living, then that piece of property may need to go through the probate process in the jurisdiction of its location. This secondary review is known as ancillary probate, since it is secondary to the main probate proceedings in the home state of the person who has passed.
Ancillary probate proceedings can be time-consuming and costly depending on a few different factors like where the additional property is located, the size of the entirety of the deceased’s estate, and the location of all of the relatives or beneficiaries. Multiple probate hearings can mean hiring multiple attorneys and perhaps even a resident to serve as personal representative or executor in that locality.
Can I Avoid Multiple Probate Proceedings?
The easiest way to avoid the problem of having to probate in two or more states is to avoid probate altogether. Building an estate plan with a trusted lawyer can help your family successfully and effectively move forward after your passing.
One way to avoid probate is to establish specific provisions when transferring land such as a right of survivorship, or perhaps preemptively assigning land to a family member during the course of estate planning so that the deed to the property will already be successfully shifted.
Will Placing My Out-of-State Property in a Trust Ease Complications?
A revocable trust can help consolidate property and is a useful tool when estate planning. One important benefit presented by revocable trusts is that because they allow you to consolidate assets before death, the division of property afterward is more straightforward. Establishing a trust is a great option to consider because it helps simplify distribution of your estate no matter where the property is located.
Should I Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney?
If you have property in different states, it is important to understand all of your options for transferring that property to a loved one upon your passing. The estate planning attorneys at Bennett Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C. understand that this process can be emotionally and logistically challenging, and we are ready to confidently and effectively work with you to help achieve your goals. Contact us today for more information.