Mccullough & Mccullough

Estate Administration
& Probate

Estate Planning

Real Estate Law

Business Law

Ways to avoid ancillary probate

When Texas residents prepare their estate plans, they set them up in a way that best benefits their heirs. They know that what they do when it comes to setting up a plan will determine how easy or difficult it will be for their beneficiaries to receive their inheritances. Depending on how an estate is set up, some people’s beneficiaries may have to go through probate. In some cases, people have to go through ancillary probate.

What is ancillary probate?

Probate is the process that takes place where a court oversees estate administration. The court validates the will, pays off any debtors and distributes assets to the beneficiaries. The process is often lengthy, time-consuming and expensive.

Ancillary probate takes place when the person who set up the estate owns assets in another state other than the one they resided in. The property in that state will have to go through its own probate process, a situation that makes the whole process even more expensive for the beneficiaries.

Is there a way to avoid ancillary probate?

By setting up a living trust instead of just a will, you can avoid regular probate altogether. The proceeds of the trust will be paid directly to the beneficiaries. For out-of-state assets, you can title those assets in the name of your trust. Those assets will then be part of the trust and won’t have to go through probate.

If you’re transferring real estate, there are 28 states that recognize special beneficiary deeds that make it easy to transfer the property when you pass away so that your beneficiaries don’t have to go through probate. Remember that if you don’t put the entirety of your out-of-state proceeds into a living trust along with your in-state assets, you will have to go through probate in two states. This will end up costing your beneficiaries more time and money.

Where can people go when they’re dealing with estate planning issues?

Putting your estate together is often complex, but you want to make sure you’re leaving your beneficiaries with easy access to your assets. You may benefit by working with an attorney who has experience with structuring estates to avoid probate.