Are you looking forward to spending the summer in your Florida vacation home? Did you ever consider what would a happen with your out-of-state property if something happened to you? As people move around for work, school or recreation, they may come to purchase property outside of Ohio. It’s important to understand how out-of-state property is handled upon death and what you can do now to provide direction and ease the process for loved ones.
Probate is the legal procedure for settling and transferring a person’s estate, assets and debts. A state probate court only has authority and say over property in its jurisdiction so it can’t issue orders for property in another state. Each state has its own rules regarding ancillary probate administration. In Ohio, ancillary probate is addressed in Chapter 2129 of the Ohio Revised Code. Typically, probate proceedings start in the County/State where the person resided (say Cuyahoga County, Ohio) and then a separate second (ancillary) probate is filed in the state where the other property is located (say Lee County, Florida). Ancillary administration is typically a shorter process then the administration in the county of the decedent’s residence. Keep in mind that ancillary administration normally involves real estate, but may also be needed in the event a decedent had other property registered out of state, such as a boat, airplane or even livestock.
This process can differ by state. Sometimes it’s necessary to hire an attorney local to the out-of-state property to assist with the process. Also, aspects like property size and location and where other family members are based can make ancillary probate costly and time-consuming. Having property in multiple states only adds complexity with various probate cases simultaneously occurring around the country.
An easier alternative
The ancillary probate process can be avoided, even if you own property in multiple states. One way is to transfer all out-of-state property before death such as through a joint tenant ownership in which the surviving owner absorbs the share of the decedent. Another option is to create a simple living trust to establish ownership of your real property along with any other assets you wish to include. A trust takes the property out of probate. The property remains in your name during life and avoids the probate process upon death because your successor trustee can just transfer it to your intended beneficiaries.
To learn more about trusts and ancillary probate and what options may be right for you, contact me today to set up a time to chat.