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Florida vacation homes and probate: What you should know

On Behalf of | May 20, 2021 | Estate Planning |

You’re a “snowbird” who comes to Florida for the winter months and spends the summers up in the northern states around your family. After all, it’s the best of both worlds now that you’re retired.

Understand, however, the ramifications for owning property in two states and what it means for your estate plans.

When you own property in more than one state, probate can get complicated

Generally speaking, when someone dies and leaves behind property in more than one state, there may need to be what’s called an “ancillary” probate proceeding.

The primary probate process will usually be handled in the decedent’s state of residence, and the ancillary process — with all of its attendant procedures and fees — gets handled in the state(s) where the real property is located. This often requires more than one attorney, plus additional travel time and expenses for the executor.

You can find ways around ancillary probate by pre-planning

If you plan ahead, you can often avoid ancillary probate (and maybe probate altogether) with your estate. A revocable living trust, for example, is one common method used to bypass ancillary probate (and possibly probate altogether) with real estate holdings. By using this kind of financial tool, you can retain control of your real estate and then pass the deed through the trust to your heirs upon your death.

Proper estate planning is about far more than just making sure that you have a will and powers of attorney in place. Arrange for your hard-earned assets to go where you want them to go — without a lot of expense or hassle for your heirs.