Can a last will and testament address out-of-state properties?

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Estate Planning on Friday, August 14, 2015.

Many Pennsylvania residents might enjoy weekend trips to the ocean. Mass transit options also make it feasible to visit beachfront destinations in neighboring states. Given the relatively short commute, some may even have out-of-state, second property ownership along the coast.

Yet what happens if an individual attempts to bequest real property located in another state? That issue recently arose in another state, and the court ultimately determined that it lacked jurisdiction over the out-of-state real property. As a result, the executor of the estate was required to open an ancillary probate proceeding in the other jurisdiction.

Regardless of what a will might say, a probate proceeding may be required in each jurisdiction where real property is located. Certainly, the time and expense of probate in multiple states is not desirable. Even worse, there’s the possibility of each state imposing its own inheritance or estate taxes. For that reason, individuals who own out-of-state real property should consult with an attorney about probate-avoidance options.

Our law firm focuses on both real estate and estate law. Those practice areas allow us to offer unique solutions to clients with real property concerns in their estate planning. For example, it might be advantageous to use a trust or even an LLC for property ownership in multiple states. Property could also be titled in more than one name, with a right of survivorship. The bottom line is that special planning at the front end can save beneficiaries a considerable amount of headache, especially when it comes to multiple properties.

Source: LifeHealthPro, “Dealing with out-of-state property issues in estate plans,” Tom Nawrocki, Aug. 11, 2015


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