You live in Nevada, but you vacation in Florida – and, occasionally, you visit the old family cabin in upstate New York. Your Nevada home, Florida condo and the cabin in New York are all part of the wealth that you’ve accumulated over the years and hope to pass on to your heirs.
When your time comes, however, the executor of your estate needs to be aware of the fact that they may need to deal with what is called “ancillary probate.”
What’s ancillary probate?
When someone dies, their estate normally goes through a legal process known as probate. Debts are paid, assets are counted and – presuming that one is available – the will is evaluated. If all is correct and good, the remaining assets in the estate will be parceled out as the will directs.
However, if you own real property that’s located in another state, a second – or third (or more) – probate process has to be opened to eventually move that property to your heirs. While not the worst thing that can happen, it can be expensive and time-consuming for your executor or heirs to manage.
Can you avoid an ancillary probate?
Good estate planning can do many things, and you probably have a number of options that you haven’t yet considered. For example, in some states, you may be able to use a transfer-on-death deed to automatically move the ownership from you to your chosen heir – which bypasses probate entirely. Or, you may put properties in a trust, which also skips the probate process.
Talk your estate planning goals over with a professional to see what you can do to make those goals a reality.