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Is probate inevitable for out-of-state property?

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2022 | Estate Planning

When you have more than one Nebraska property in an estate to administer, probate can become more costly. Things become even more complicated and expensive when the property left behind by the decedent is in another state. This also applies to property that was registered out of state.

What makes probate so undesirable?

Among the main drawbacks that come with ancillary probate are the additional costs. Whenever you’re able to, avoiding it may be in your best interest – not to mention the best interests of all the beneficiaries.

The place where the decedent was living at the time of their death is known as the domiciliary state. This state doesn’t have the legal right to handle property transfers to beneficiaries located in another state, which is what necessitates the ancillary probate proceedings.

It’s common for states to work together in this dual process for the sake of simplicity. Still, ancillary probate is rarely easy – or cheap. The costs will often pile onto the grand total that it takes to finally settle the estate. And the more money that goes into probate and ancillary probate, the less that’s left over for the beneficiaries – the people to whom the decedent intended the assets to go in the first place.

Are there ways of avoiding ancillary probate?

You may be able to get around ancillary probate when you title the property from out of state strategically. This can allow you to transfer the property to beneficiaries directly and completely bypass the need for probate.

To do this, you first must choose a beneficiary. Then, retitle the out-of-state property so that joint ownership with rights of survivorship is held between the two of you.

No matter the state that property is located, you won’t need probate as long as it’s placed within a living trust. Any proceeds that are out of state can then be titled in the name of that trust.

If the property in question isn’t located where the decedent lived when they passed away, it usually requires at least two concurrent probate proceedings to settle the estate. But if foregoing ancillary probate is an option, it’s usually advisable to take it because it will likely maximize the amount that your beneficiaries receive.

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