When preparing your estate plan, you likely heard about probate proceedings and structured your estate plan to try to avoid them.
Did you know, however, that if you own real property in another state, you may be subject to ancillary probate proceedings? Ancillary probate is a type of probate proceeding that occurs after the primary probate proceeding if you own real property in a state outside your home state. We know this can be a difficult topic to understand, so to help better inform you about this type of probate proceeding, we want to share with you a few tips and ideas for simplifying ancillary probate.
1. A last will and testament will not cover your property outside of Florida.
Frequently, one of the first steps many people take when preparing an estate plan is to create a last will and testament. This legal document details your wishes for the distribution of your assets after death. It is important to know, however, that the protection of your last will and testament does not extend to any out-of-state property you possess.
2. Be careful when appointing a future beneficiary as a joint owner of out-of-state property.
While you may consider appointing your child or future beneficiary as a joint owner or payable on death recipient of your out-of-state property, this is risky. Before taking this important step, you should consider what will happen if you need to be the sole owner? Does the lifetime gift exclude you from public benefits like Medicaid? What if you change your mind after making this appointment? Talking to an experienced estate planning attorney can help alleviate some of your worries and ensure your assets remain protected.
3. Do not take action without talking with your estate planning attorney.
Above all, we encourage you not to take any action without first talking to your estate planning attorney.
There are no uniform rules when it comes to ancillary probate, as different states have different laws.
If you acquire new property outside of your home state, or are considering moving, be sure to contact your estate planning attorney to discuss the protection of your property as soon as possible.
These are just a few tips and ideas for simplifying ancillary probate. Did this article raise more questions than it answered for you? Are you ready to discuss your estate planning needs? We encourage you to contact our office to schedule a meeting with us.