When clients first come to us to discuss their estate plan, many have the primary goal in mind of avoiding probate. Probate is a legal proceeding through which the assets of a deceased person are distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries. For many, this can be an expensive and time-consuming process, which adds stress to an already overwhelming time.
You may not know, however, that there is a specific type of probate proceeding called ancillary probate that your estate may still be subject to. To learn more about this type of probate, let us share with you a few tips you need when it comes to ancillary probate.
First, did you know that you may face risks if you appoint a future beneficiary as a joint owner or payable on death recipient of any property you own outside of Florida? This is a particularly important decision to make when creating your estate plan, and one that should not be taken lightly. It is important to consider what will happen if you need to be the sole owner of the property, evaluate whether this lifetime gift will exclude you from public benefits such as Medicaid, and determine what will happen if you change your mind after making this appointment.
Second, there is danger in creating online documents and never is this more true than when you have property in other states. It is imperative that you are careful about your planning to ensure that your property remains protected. Before relying on a legal document created online, we encourage you to speak to an experienced estate planning attorney who is familiar with the ancillary probate and estate planning laws of your state.
Finally, other states may have more favorable or negative tax treatment than your domicile state. This is a particularly important factor to consider when creating your estate plan. Above all, it is unwise to take a “one size fits all” approach to ancillary probate. There is no substitute to discussing your specific needs, goals, and concerns with a local estate planning attorney who can help guide you and keep your assets protected.
These are just a few tips you need when it comes to ancillary probate. We know this can be a complicated topic to understand. We encourage you and your loved ones not to wait to find the answers you need. We look forward to supporting you and your loved ones with your estate planning needs.