Whether you have a lakeside cabin up in Wisconsin, a vacation home in Colorado or one of your kids is living in your old condo in Brooklyn that you still own, those assets will need to be covered in your estate plan. If you still own the assets when you pass away, your estate executor and family may need to deal with something called “ancillary probate.”
Since one of the goals for most people in having a detailed, well-crafted estate plan is to avoid probate, you likely don’t want your loved ones to deal with it both here in Illinois and in another state. Illinois probate courts would have no jurisdiction over the assets in your estate located elsewhere. These assets don’t have to be real estate. They can include cars, boats, art collections or any other tangible property.
Generally, ancillary probate proceedings aren’t very complicated if there aren’t problems or complications with the estate plan. Most probate courts will accept estate plans that are considered valid by the domicile state probate court. However, it will mean more work and possibly travel for your executor and added fees that will need to come out of your estate.
How can you avoid ancillary probate?
There are several ways to avoid it. For example:
- You can sell the property or gift it to someone if you’re no longer using it.
- If you intend to leave it to a particular family member, you can go ahead and add them to the title (if it’s an asset that has a title) so that it will pass directly to them.
- You can put it in a living trust, which will allow it to bypass probate.
If none of these works for you, at least make sure that your chosen executor is aware that they’ll need to deal with one or more assets outside of Illinois.
With experienced legal guidance, you can determine how best to address any out-of-state assets (as well as any outside the country, if you have them). This will help make things easier for those you leave behind.