Cobb County Probate Lawyer: Issues to Consider with an Out-of-State Probate

Cobb County Probate Lawyer: Issues to Consider with an Out-of-State Probate

It’s become more and more common now to see clients come in with probate cases that need to be dealt with in multiple states. Many seniors today are “snow birds,” meaning they spend their winters in states with warmer climates while keeping their actual residency in the state they’ve spent most of their lives in. These seniors often own property in the state where they spend their winters, whether it’s real property like a vacation home or timeshare, or even tangible property like a car, boat, or financial account.

When the senior passes away, a situation is created where an out-of-state or ancillary probate proceeding must take place to administer the out-of-state property. Whatever the case may be, clients dealing with an out-of-state probate often need help since they are dealing with two or more sets of probate rules and regulations, all of which differ from state to state.

Cobb County probate lawyers find that one of the biggest issues involving an out-of-state probate proceeding is cost. Typically, you will need to pay probate court fees for each property held under a different probate court jurisdiction. In addition, you may be faced with extra accounting and legal fees. If possible, you should try to find an attorney who is licensed both in the home state of the deceased and the state where the ancillary probate is taking place. While the fees may be higher than usual due to multiple probate filings, it will still likely be cheaper than hiring more than one attorney to deal with property and assets in each respective state.

Another serious issue can arise if the decedent did not leave behind a Last Will and Testament. When this happens, the probate court will often order distributions of the estate based on the laws of intestacy. The problem with out-of-state probates is that every state has different laws of intestacy, meaning the heirs in one state may not be the same as the heirs in another. This is a very tricky situation and one where Marietta probate attorneys urge their clients to proceed with caution as it may cause additional stress for already grieving family members.

Are there ways to avoid an out-of- state probate proceeding? Yes, but it all depends on the state where the additional property is held since, as noted before, every state has different laws concerning probate. Some of the techniques Cobb County probate lawyers use to get around an out-of-state probate often involve placing the property into a revocable living trust, owning the property jointly with someone else, or drafting a type of deed where the property is transferred upon death.

However, Cobb County probate lawyers caution that this type of planning must be done BEFORE death, and attorneys must be consulted to make sure these techniques will actually work in the state where the property is held.

If you are currently dealing with the complexities of an out-of-state probate and need assistance, or you would like to plan ahead to avoid the possibility of an ancillary probate for your loved ones, please contact us at 770-425-6060 or steve@georgiaestateplan.com to set up a consultation.

Do You Need a Cobb County Probate Attorney?

Do You Need a Cobb County Probate Attorney?

Maze of probate

 

In the state of Georgia, it’s not legally required for you to hire a probate lawyer after the passing of a loved one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.  For one thing, a Cobb County probate attorney will have a lot of insight into the process, which is something most folks just don’t have.  After all, the probate lawyer works with probate cases all the time, is up-to-date on the most current laws, and has a pretty good idea of how to streamline the process as much as possible.

Hiring a Marietta probate lawyer is a good idea for another reason, too:  If you do something wrong in the proceedings, the liability is on you.  Considering all the complicated paperwork, financial responsibilities and time-sensitive deadlines, a lot of folks just don’t want to take on that kind of responsibility.  Additionally, the person in charge of an estate (the Executor) is often dealing with his or her own grief and doesn’t want the additional stress of the job.

That said, plenty of estates can go through probate without a lawyer.  If all of the decedent’s assets can be transferred outside of probate, then a probate lawyer wouldn’t be necessary.  Cases like that might include assets that are held in joint tenancy, or those that have a named beneficiary, such as an insurance policy or retirement account.

It’s up to the individual in charge to determine if or when professional advice is needed.  Some circumstances where this might happen could include:

  • Family members threatening to contest a will
  • Business dealings that weren’t complete when the decedent passed away
  • The need for a guardian for a minor or disabled adult
  • A shortfall of assets to cover debts owed by the estate
  • There are complications with the taxes
  • Assets were not properly owned by an existing trust

If the situation isn’t overly complex, you may only need the Marietta probate attorney to consult with you or review a few documents.  A couple of hours of the attorney’s time might be all you need to ensure that you’ve got everything in proper order.  On the other hand, if things start looking particularly complicated, it’s a good idea to gather up all your materials and sit down with an experienced probate lawyer in Cobb County for your own protection and your family’s peace of mind.

 If you’d like to give your loved ones and yourself the gift of peace of mind, please call Steve at 770-425-6060 or email him at steve@georgiaestateplan.com.

For additional information on filing probate in Georgia, click here for Seven Steps to Handling Your Loved One’s Estate.