During probate, the court appoints an executor to handle administrative duties, including paying debts, distributing assets and closing the estate.
The probate process can be difficult to navigate, especially if your loved one owned real estate in multiple states. In fact, you may need to undergo two or more probates depending on the circumstances.
Probate proceedings begin in the state in which the deceased person resided. Then, courts in other states can open ancillary probate cases. A lawyer can represent your interests in probates in different states. Generally, the court handling the ancillary probate accepts the will after the first probate court.
Probate adds significant difficulty and cost to the process of administering your loved one’s estate. In addition, probate can delay the distribution of assets to beneficiaries, including yourself. If you anticipate a situation in which you must handle multiple probates, there are steps you and your loved one can take to prevent unnecessary complications.
You can discuss estate planning options with your loved one. For example, if your parents reside in Florida but own a summer home in a different state, they can use a revocable living trust to avoid ancillary probate. In addition, your loved one can use a transfer-on-death deed to easily pass ownership of any real estate to a chosen beneficiary.
Probate can add stress and expense to an already difficult situation. However, if you understand how ancillary probate works, you can develop a plan to administer and distribute your loved one’s real estate across multiple states.