If an individual passes away owning real property (i.e., any type of real estate) titled solely in that individual’s name, you are required to file probate with the Court. Probate is the legal process of transferring the title of real property from the Decedent’s name (the person who passed away) to the person who is entitled to receive the property or to the buyer of the property if the heirs of the estate decide to sell the property.
But what happens if someone passes away owning property in multiple states? When this happens, assuming the property is titled solely in the Decedent’s name, a probate must be filed in each state the Decedent owned property. A probate is first filed in the state where the Decedent passed away. Then, an ancillary probate is filed in any other states the Decedent passed away owning real property.
An ancillary probate is the legal process the personal representative (or executor) of the Estate must go through to obtain court permission to transfer assets from the Decedent’s name. The downside of having to file probate in multiple states means that you will need an attorney licensed in each state you must file probate in, and you will have to file the appropriate documents with the Court in each corresponding state. Every state has different requirements for what is required to file an ancillary probate. This can become time-consuming and expensive.
So how do you avoid ancillary probate? If you own property in multiple states, you can do some proactive planning to ensure your loved ones do not have to manage filing probates in multiple states. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to establish a revocable living trust. By establishing a trust that defines how your assets will be distributed when you pass away, you will not have to worry about a potential ancillary probate.
However, just establishing a trust is not enough; you also need to transfer the title of the property itself into the name of the trust. An experienced estate planning attorney can advise you on how to effectively plan for this.
Whether you are seeking assistance with drafting proactive estate planning to ensure that your loved ones do not have to file an ancillary probate when you pass away or are seeking assistance probating the Estate of a loved one who has passed away with property in multiple states, the experienced Colorado probate, and estate planning attorneys at Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C. can help. Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced attorney.