Did you know property you own in another state, such as a vacation home or a car, could become an issue after you pass away? Depending on how your estate is set up, it might be subject to a court process known as ancillary probate.

We know you want your loved ones to have a smooth transfer of your property after you pass on. With this in mind, let us share a few things for you to consider as you plan ahead for your out-of-state property.

The “Cons” of the Court Process

1. Your family may face additional costs. One of the main drawbacks of any type of probate, ancillary probate included, are the additional costs. When it comes to ancillary probate, your personal representative might need to hire another lawyer in the state where your property is located and pay filing fees on top of the original probate.

2. There may be additional time delays. Each state has its own probate deadlines. When you have property that must go through probate in multiple states, there may be additional, potential delays in settling your estate. They may originate with that state’s probate statutes, balancing the needs of the creditor period, or come from managing a process in a state where none of the heirs or personal representatives reside.

3. Each state may manage intestate issues differently. Another problem that can occur when we deal with out-of-state property originates when you die without a valid will. When this happens you are deemed to have died “intestate.”  Every state law is a little different and, unfortunately, if you did not have a will, the laws of the state may determine who receives your property at death. In practice, the heirs in the state where ancillary probate proceedings occur could turn out to be different than those of the state where you lived.

The ancillary probate process can be simplified for personal representatives and the family when we plan for it. This could be by planning for an ancillary probate process or by marshalling the out-of-state assets through a trust agreement. Start by planning proactively with your attorney to determine what applies in each of the states involved and develop a course of action.  Regardless of your situation, it always makes sense to plan ahead.  If you are concerned about ancillary probate or any elder care issue, please do not wait to contact us.