Inheriting Real Estate In A Different State
Owning real estate in multiple states can make good financial sense for some people. However, it can also raise some problems when it comes to estate planning and leaving the out of state property to different heirs. The problems that may arise can be anticipated and taken care of with some planning on the property owner’s part.
If a person dies without a will or trust, his property is generally distributed according to the intestacy laws of the state in which the person was domiciled at the time of his death. This distribution of property usually applies to personal property that the deceased owned at the time of death, whether or not the property is in different states. The distribution of real estate is handled differently.
Real estate that is in the state in which the deceased person was domiciled at the time of death, gets passed on to heirs of the deceased under the intestacy laws of that state if the deceased does not have a will. However, if the real estate is located in another state, the intestacy law of that other state will control the way in which the real estate is distributed.
For example, if John has lived and worked in Florida for approximately five years before he dies without a will, any real property that he owned in Florida will be passed on under Florida’s intestacy laws. However, any property John owned in Massachusetts, where he lived before moving to Florida, will be passed on according to the intestacy laws of Massachusetts.
The kind of confusion that may be caused by this kind of situation can be avoided by ensuring that real property is always tilted in such a way that it will not be subject to the intestacy laws of any state. Having a will that leaves the property to a specific heir can be a good start in ensuring this, but a will presents its own issues. A will devising real estate property has to go through probate in the state in which the real estate is located. Under our example above, if John had a will, it would have to go through probate in both Florida and Massachusetts.
A simpler way to handle passing real estate to an heir or beneficiary can be through the use of a trust, or titling the property in a way that it automatically passes to the heir immediately upon the property owner’s death. This can be through titling the property so that the beneficiary is a joint owner with right of survivorship. Using a trust or titling property in this way would also help avoid the probate process.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
If you own property in multiple states, and want to make sure that your property is passed on in the easiest way possible for your heirs, you should discuss the different ways in which you can plan your estate to accomplish this goal. For more information and a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorneys, call the Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group located in The Villages, Florida today.