Does My Estate Plan Need to Include My Vacation Property? Posted on October 31, 2017 | by Tom Yes! If you own a vacation home, timeshare, investment property, or any other asset outside of the state where you are domiciled you must make sure it’s included in your estate plan. If you fail to include these in your estate plan, or fail to have an estate plan at all, your heirs will encounter issues, and usually the expense and hassle of court costs, when inheriting these assets. Because state laws vary, your principal residence may even be divided one way in your home state (your “domicile”) while other properties can end up divided completely differently. Having a comprehensive estate plan puts you in control and lets you determine who will receive your property, regardless of where it’s located. Avoiding Unnecessary Probate When property is located in a different state than where the deceased person was domiciled, your family may need to file a second probate case, referred to as an ancillary estate. Typically a local attorney must handle the ancillary estate, which adds more cost, time, and hassle for your family to settle your affairs. For example, if you died as a resident of New York but owned a condo in Florida as well, you might have an ancillary probate in Florida for the property located there. Probate is the legal process that is used to change title of property upon their passing, whether the deceased had a will or not. Each state has their own probate rules, making it fairly complex for families that inherit property in multiple states. It is important to know that while personal property may be probated in the state where the decedent is domiciled, real property must be probated in the state or country where it is located. The need for ancillary probate can be avoided, however, through proper estate planning. Specifically, if the decedent transfers the property to his or her trust before death, ancillary probate can be avoided. Of course, there are several ways to avoid the costs, delays, and headaches of probate other than a trust, but each alternative has downsides. Bottom Line Intestacy laws can be complicated because they vary from state to state. At the same time, a well-thought-out estate plan avoids unnecessary probate costs, in every state where you own property. With the help of a knowledgeable estate attorney, you can successfully avoid unnecessary complications and make settling your affairs as easy as possible for your heirs. Remember to tell your estate planning advisor about everything that you own – no matter how small in value or where it is located. In order to fully protect your family and assets, all of your property (real and personal) must be considered and included. If you have any questions about ancillary probate, or any other estate planning issues, contact us today.