Is your estate plan ancillary probate proof?

One matter that gets very little attention is ancillary probate. It is an issue that often only comes up when a deceased person's estate includes property and assets in other states. One does not need to own a multitude of estates to benefit from using the proper estate planning tools. A strong desire to prevent contention and a good eye for detail are two of the several things you will need to preserve your overall estate.

Typically, a deceased person's estate goes through one probate process. The appointed person disperses all of the person's physical and financial assets according to the estate plans or intestacy when necessary. But, if the deceased person moved around the country before setting roots in Florida, any possessions that individual has in other states must undergo the ancillary probate process.

What is ancillary probate?

The ancillary probate process only governs property and physical items located outside of the deceased person's domestic jurisdiction. The executor of the estate must follow the probate rules of each respective local. Many individuals do not realize how important it is to know the location of each physical possession and the probate rules so they can plan their estate plans to minimize expenses and inheritance issues.

How does ancillary probate affect an estate?

One major downside to ancillary probate is that it takes considerably longer to settle an estate. Though the deceased may have chosen one person as the executor, any properties and possessions located elsewhere may require the filing of additional paperwork and payment of fees before that individual can fulfill his or her obligations. Intended beneficiaries may not receive their inheritances, and there may be delays in disbursement.

There are several estate planning strategies individuals can use while they are living to preserve inheritances and avoid additional probate issues. When planning for your estate, take inventory of the value and location of everything you own. Review the corresponding state's probate laws for each non-local physical asset you have and use living wills/trusts, deed upon death transfers and other estate planning tools to your estate's advantage.

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