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Estate Planning for Multi State Homes

by Chris Cooper, Financial Planning Expert
April 09, 2015

Question: My mother who recently passed away owned a vacation home in another state. Is there something special needed while dealing with that kind of property?

Answer: Yes, if your mother owned the property in her name when she passed away, then you will need to open a probate estate in the county (sometimes called a parish in some states) and the State she owned the property in. For example, your mother died while a resident of Ohio, but she owned a property in Florida (not uncommon!) If she owned property in her own name in Ohio, you would have to probate her Will in the county she lived in Ohio, and also, probate her Will in the county where the property is in Florida. You are going to find this will costs some money from your mother’s estate.

For future planning, it is suggested that you own your real estate and all your property in both states in a Intervivos (Living) Trust. You then retitle the property in both States to the trust, so that when the Grantor dies (assume this was your mom) and everything was done correctly by the attorneys drafting all this, then there will be no probate in either State! That saves big money and headaches, just for the cost of doing a well drafted living trust.

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Chris Cooper is the owner and founder of Chris Cooper & Company, Inc., a fee-only financial planning firm for elderly persons and the owner and founder of ElderCare Advocates, Inc. a private geriatric care management and long term care consulting firm. As a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary, Chris can serve as  Conservator of the Person and Estate under court appointment,  as Agent under a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial matters and Health Care matters.

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