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A living trust in an estate plan may avoid ancillary probate

Effective estate planning requires a certain amount of thoroughness and understanding of the law. Only by being diligent and holistic in your approach can you ensure that your estate will be distributed exactly how you want it to be. Those in Ohio who try to cut corners to save time and money during the estate planning and administration process may have their assets pass into the wrong hands, thereby failing to provide for their loved ones as they wished.

Mistakes are often made during the estate planning process that can be disastrous. One commonly seen issue pertains to ancillary probate. Ancillary probate laws pertaining to the inheritance of property when a person has real estate in two different states at the time of their death. Therefore, an Ohio resident who has a home in Ohio and, say, a home in Florida may have his or her estate subject to the probate process in both states. This second probate is called ancillary probate.

In addition to subjecting an estate to distribution delays and costs, ancillary probate can have a tremendous impact on an estate when an individual passes away without a proper estate plan. This is because the intestacy laws of each state, which dictate how assets are inherited when there is no estate plan, can vary greatly. Thus, passing away without an estate plan can leave your estate at risk of being divided in a way you never intended, while at the same time being subjected to unexpected and unwanted probate costs.

There are ways to avoid ancillary probate, though. One way is to place out-of-state assets in a living trust. All assets in these trusts are exempted from the probate process, regardless of where they are possessed. Another option is to retitle out of state assets so that they become jointly owned with the individual whom you intend to inherit. That way, upon passing, full ownership of the property will automatically transfer to him or her, thereby avoiding the need for probate.

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