Previous posts have discussed the importance of asset characterization as to whether a will requires probating. Real property is always a probate asset unless deliberate actions have been taken to remove that asset from the estate. Those actions include a transfer on death deed, a life estate and/or enhanced life estate deed or conveyance of the real property to a trust or business entity. In the absence of these actions, title to real property must pass by the probate procedures of the state in which the real property is located. This becomes especially important in those instances in which a person dies in one state and perhaps has no reason to open a probate…but for the fact that he/she owned property in another state. Most times a proceeding in the state of the decedent’s domicile is required prior to opening an ancillary proceeding to distribute the real property. This may be fine for real property with a relatively high value, but not so much if the value is under $20,000. Then, it can be time and expense that is barely worth it. Bottom line: if you own real property in a state outside where you live, go see an estate planning or elder lawyer.
This article is written by an attorney at Wyatt & Mirabella, PC. Always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions. To make an appointment today for a free consultation, please click here to contact us.