You’ve always been a bit of a wanderer and found it hard to put down roots in just one place. That’s why you have a summer home, a winter home and a small cabin retreat – all in different parts of the country.
That can prove complicated for your heirs when it comes time to manage your estate. Not only could they have to go through the typical probate process in your primary state of residence, but they’ll also probably have to go through an ancillary probate elsewhere (maybe in several states).
What’s ancillary probate?
Essentially, whenever a decedent owns any tangible property (like real estate) in several states, each of those states has exclusive control over that part of the decedent’s assets. Since each state has its own probate process, that usually means a lot of additional work for the executor – and it usually means hiring different legal representation in each location to manage the situation.
Can ancillary probate be avoided?
Good estate planning involves a lot of different things, and that can include looking for ways to bypass probate entirely. In a situation like yours, it may be wise to make use of beneficiary designations on bank accounts in different states and a trust to hold the real property. The use of transfer-on-death deeds may also be possible (depending on where your property is located).
As you look ahead to the future, learning more about your legal options when it comes to minimizing the taxes on your estate, eliminating the probate process and making things easier for your heirs is wise.