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Estate Planning for People with Property in Multiple States

Estate Planning for People with Property in Multiple States
July 15, 2019 Shannon Dawes
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In our modern, highly-mobile society, it is not uncommon for individuals to move frequently for personal or professional reasons. Sometimes these moves are to a different part of the same town or to the other side of the state. However, as often as not, these moves can take individuals to the other side of the country. While there, these people may accumulate valuable pieces of real and personal property. This can be a potentially serious issue for a person’s heirs and benefactors.

Dying Intestate with Property in Multiple States Can Be a Nightmare

It should be observed that dying intestate (that is, without a will) with property scattered across multiple states can create headaches and unnecessary work for your estate’s administrator. When a person dies and does not have a will, the property owned by that person will be administered according to the probate laws of the state in which the property is located – not necessarily the state in which the individual was residing at the time of death. For example, if a person died and owned farmland in Ohio but had their principal residence in Indiana, the farmland property would pass according to Ohio’s probate laws but the residence would pass according to those in Indiana.

What is more, it is easy for the decedent’s heirs and estate administrator to lose track of property if the decedent did not tell their family members about the out-of-state property. If the farmland had not been used in generations and the decedent had never spoken of it, for example, the surviving family may not even know that the property exists. This situation could keep the decedent’s heirs from receiving a portion of their loved one’s estate.

How Crafting an Estate Plan Can Make Administrating Multi-State Estates Easier

For individuals who have property scattered across multiple states, an estate plan can provide two potential benefits for the person’s heirs and beneficiaries. First, a comprehensive estate plan should list and encompass all property the person owns. Even if the property is located outside the state of the person’s residence, an estate plan should (at the very least) describe the property and what the person wants to have happen to the property upon their death. This can end up saving the estate’s administrator considerable time in preparing the inventory of the estate and distributing assets thereof.

Additionally, depending upon the documents that make up a person’s estate plan, the process of opening ancillary probate cases in the states in which the decedent’s property is located. Some states may, for example, recognize a will created in Ohio and allow the will to be admitted in a probate proceeding in that other state. Similarly, a properly executed power of attorney may be of use in another state if circumstances so require.

Consider Reviewing Your Estate Plan if You Intend to Move

If you are contemplating a move to a different state, it may be a good occasion to speak with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney in the state where you intend to move. For example, if you live in Kentucky but plan to move to Ohio, visiting with an estate planning attorney in Ohio may be beneficial. Such a lawyer may be able to tell you if your estate plan will be recognized in the state to which you are moving or what additional steps may be needed to ensure your intentions are carried out.

Speak with a Columbus Estate Planning Lawyer

If you have questions about your out-of-state estate plan and whether it will be recognized in Ohio, or if you reside in Ohio and need assistance in crafting or modifying a comprehensive estate plan, speak with Dawes Legal, LLC. We assist Ohioans in and around the Columbus area protect their assets and provide for their loved ones through estate planning. Call our office at (614) 733-9999 to schedule an estate planning consultation.