Many Minnesotans own a second property in Florida or Arizona. How does title to that second home pass to loved ones after you die? First, the good news: If you own the home in a joint tenancy with another person (most of the time a spouse), then that person would obtain title to the home without having to go through that state’s Probate Court. If you transferred title to that home into a Revocable Living Trust, then the terms of the Trust would direct what happens to the home free from the Probate Court in that state. However, what if a Trust does not own the property or you do not currently own the home in a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship?

When you die the personal representative of your estate would be responsible for making sure the home goes to whomever you wanted it to go to according to your Will, if you had one. If you reside in Minnesota, your personal representative will very likely go through the probate process in Minnesota. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with probate, the process can make settlement of the estate and transferring property to your heirs more difficult.

The Minnesota Probate Court has absolutely no jurisdiction over property in other states. Therefore, to be able to transfer title on a second home located in another state, the personal representative of your estate would have to go through the probate process in the state where the second home is located (legal term “ancillary probate”) in addition to going through the probate process in Minnesota. Going through the probate process in one state is expensive and difficult enough. Add another probate filing in another state with different laws and procedures and the expenses can become enormous.

If you own property in another state, you can easily avoid probate issues with a quality Estate Plan. The surest way to protect your estate and surviving family members from these issues is by transferring title to all of your properties into a Revocable Living Trust. By doing so, your estate avoids potential ancillary probate difficulties and likely saves a lot of money. All property, including your second home in another state, gets passed as directed by the terms of your Trust. Such a Trust based Estate Plan could be set up entirely in Minnesota by a licensed attorney. You do not need to set up one Trust to own the Florida home and another Trust to own your Minnesota home. Moreover, once you establish a Living Trust, all of your other assets and properties may be owned by the same Trust.

*This article does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to constitute advertising or solicitation for legal services. Nothing in this article should be construed by you as a source of legal advice. You should not rely or act upon the contents of this article without seeking advice from your own attorney.