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Probate administration does not cross state lines

For people who own property in two states, traveling may be an easy choice. They may spend most of the year in Oklahoma, then move to another area for winter or summer. Owning a second home provides many conveniences; however, there are also responsibilities and burdens. In addition to mortgages, taxes and maintenance, the possibility that one's family will face the frustration of probate administration in two separate states must also be considered.

Because the authority of probate courts is restricted to the boundaries of the court's state, properties located in different states cannot be administrated by the same court. Therefore, if one home is owned in Oklahoma and a vacation property out of state, the heirs should be prepared to hire separate lawyers in each state and to endure the complicated probate process twice. The property that was not the official residence of the deceased person will be known as an ancillary estate.

It is possible to spare one's heirs from two separate probate courts by planning ahead. For example, a trust that would eliminate the need for probate in either state could be established. Using this option means a person would deal with one attorney and pay property transfer fees which are often substantially less expensive than the cost of probate in two states.

Those who own property in more than one state are advised to consult an attorney for information about the possibilities available for avoiding ancillary probate administration. An estate planning attorney will be able to evaluate the individual circumstances and provide options that work best for one's family. Making these plans soon may save loved ones a great deal of frustration and money.

Source: nwitimes.com, "Plan for out-of-state real estate", Christopher Yugo, Feb. 12, 2017

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