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What Happens When the Person Who Died Owned Land in Multiple States?

The state in which the deceased was last a permanent resident will address the personal property and any real property (land, homes, etc.) that is in that state.

In many cases, if the deceased owned land in a second state, a second probate case will need to be opened in the second state. This second probate case is commonly referred to as an ancillary probate case. When the ancillary probate case is opened, the laws of the state in which the ancillary case is located will control how the land is distributed.

The need for ancillary probate for out-of-state real property highlights the need for a properly drafted will or other estate planning. If there is no will, the ancillary state’s intestate laws will determine who receives the property.

Intestate laws are the rules each state sets up to determine how property is distributed when the deceased has no will. In other words, the state will control who receives the property and not the deceased. Intestate laws differ state to state and may or may not match the wishes of the deceased.

Just because a deceased owned out-of-state property does not automatically mean an ancillary probate case will need to be opened. The ancillary case only needs to be opened if the deceased solely owned the land or owned the land in a manner that does not automatically transfer to another person upon death. For example, if two siblings own land jointly with rights of survivorship in a state where that type of property ownership is allowed, the land passes automatically upon death without the need for probate.

Burnham Law provides attorneys for both estate planning and probate administration. The estate planning lawyers at Burnham Law can develop a plan that assures client’s assets end up where they desire.  Additionally, the estate plan can be designed to limit taxes, costs, and the need for probate administration.

Burnham Law also provides representation for individuals going through primary probate administration and ancillary probate. Probate can be confusing and time-consuming, especially when grieving the loss of a loved one. Burnham Law provides the experience to get its client through the probate process quickly while avoiding unnecessary taxes and litigation.

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