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Estates sometimes have to go through probate in multiple states

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate, Estate Planning

When a Georgia resident who owns property in another state passes away, their estate goes through two types of probate. During probate, the decedent’s last will and testament is validated, the estates debts are settled and its assets are distributed to beneficiaries. This is usually quite a straightforward process in Georgia, but things get more complex when the decedent solely owned assets like a vacation home in another part of the country.

Ancillary probate

In these situations, a secondary type of probate called ancillary probate is necessary to settle the estate. This increases the cost of estate administration and probate because every state charges court and filing fees. States also set their own probate laws, which means attorney fees are also likely to increase. If the decedent solely owned assets in multiple states, secondary probate proceedings will be needed in each of them.

Avoiding ancillary probate

If you live in Georgia and solely own assets in other states, you have a couple of options to choose from if you want to avoid ancillary probate. The easiest way to avoid secondary probate is to add somebody else to the title of the property or vehicles you own in other states. If you own assets in one of the 11 states with community property laws, this may not even be necessary. A more complex but also more beneficial approach would be placing your out-of-state assets into a revocable living trust. If you do this, ancillary probate will not be necessary.