How To Avoid Ancillary Probate Through Estate Planning
Ancillary probate is a legal term that is unfamiliar to most people. However, as with many legal challenges, those who do know about it may have found out about it the hard way. First, be aware that ancillary probate is something you want to avoid like any probate. So, it’s good to know even a little about it in the event you could be subject to it and thus avoid it. Or you might even be able to help a friend or relative avoid it.
You may hear the terms “ancillary administration” as well as “ancillary estate.” They’re all used in reference to an ownership interest in real property in the decedent’s individual name at time of death in a state other than the state of residence at time of death. An interest in real property includes any deeded land, condos, and homes. Say your permanent home is in Georgia and you own a vacation home in Orlando. When you die, a probate estate will have to be opened in Georgia to address the ultimate distribution of all assets located in Georgia in your individual name at time of death and a separate ancillary probate will need to be opened in Florida to address the Orlando vacation property.
In most basic terms, where ancillary administration is required, you are having to complete the probate process in both states. We all know that probate is time consuming and expensive. So, if you can avoid the time and expense of probate, I am certain that you would want to. Please note that the frustration of probate and ancillary administration can be avoided completely with a well thought out estate plan.
Several methods are available when creating an estate plan that will allow you to avoid ancillary probate. These methods include trust ownership, joint ownership, enhanced life estate deed, ownership in a business entity, and/or beneficiary account.
If you own any property in a state other than your permanent resident state, you need a thorough, well-executed estate plan to keep your beneficiaries from having to learn about ancillary probate after you have passed. If you have a will or an estate plan you’d like me to review to ensure your beneficiaries will not be subject to ancillary probate, give my office a call today at 404-370-0696. We can make adjustments and additions to strengthen your estate plan to make sure it’s legally airtight.