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Principled Advocacy For Families And Individuals With Disabilities And The Professionals Who Serve Them

Estate planning when you have assets outside Illinois

On Behalf of | May 26, 2024 | Estate Planning

Like many Chicago area residents, you may have a lakeside cabin in Wisconsin for summer vacations and weekend getaways. You may still own your first condo that you bought in Indiana and rent it out for some added income. Maybe you have a vacation home in Florida where you plan to retire one day. 

If you’re preparing to put your estate plan in place, it’s critical not to forget these assets. But how do they fit into your plan?

Likely, one of your estate planning goals is to prevent as many assets as possible from having to go through probate. This can be a long, costly process for heirs that can ultimately diminish the estate you leave. Putting assets in a revocable living trust, assigning joint owners, or adding transfer-on-death or payable-on-death beneficiaries to assets can also allow hem to be transferred directly.

Can you avoid ancillary probate?

If you have assets located outside your home state, they will need to go through a separate “ancillary” probate. You can avoid or minimize this probate by essentially taking the same steps — as allowed by the applicable state’s laws.

You may also choose to sell or gift the asset(s) while you’re still around. Of course, you don’t want to do that with the property you still use or maybe plan to live in someday. It’s still wise to take inventory of everything you own in another state. That could include bank accounts and part ownership of a business or family farm, in addition to homes.

How complicated is ancillary probate?

The good news is that ancillary probate doesn’t have to be complicated for those administering your estate. Typically, as long as you have a legal, valid estate plan drawn up in your home state, probate courts in other states will accept it. However, you need to be sure that your chosen executor knows about these out-of-state assets and your wishes for them after you’re gone.

Every situation is unique, so it’s crucial to have sound estate planning guidance. This will help you ensure that all of your assets, wherever they are, are transferred the way you intend.