• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Estate planning for people with 2 or more residences

Have you wondered about the types of estate planning you need if you are a multi-state resident? What do you need to know and do to comply with various laws in each state and choosing one or more attorneys to handle your estate planning?
If you have had any experience both good and bad, please share with the rest of us.
In general, estates are processed in state/county of the property or where the deceased lived at death. This County gets probate revenues.
My brother passed in 2014 living in Portland with property lots in WA state. His estate was small (<$250,000) and I wanted a small estate probate. Used Internet, called a Portland attorney, visited Portland, met with her, probate was settled in 3 days with total fee and copies of less than $1100. Without attorney, I sold his house, paid creditors and all done. He was single and had no investments, no Will, no named beneficiaries to bank account. All that was needed was a "power of attorney" from my mother to me to address and process all the above.
His WA property lots had to be addressed through a WA State County. Paid the taxes and homeowners fees while trying to sell. WA has small probate for possessions, but not property. This undeveloped land area has grown very slowly and there have been no buyers. The taxes and fees are beginning to take the last of the Portland probate monies.
So, this is what we do in my immediate family with wife and two sons -

1) have a beneficiary on 'every' single investment account that is all IRAs, 401k, 403b, brokerage (Fidelity), bank, credit union, etc.
There is no probate on these accounts - in case of death, beneficiary takes account statement copy and death certificate (with seal or copy) to each account holder and monies are provided or new accounts established. Same on IRAs. In some States like CA, one can even add a beneficiary to a car. Most of this is very simple.
Tip: if you travel with your family, say everyone (immediate family) on an airplane, may want to put a sister-in-law at 1% beneficiary should all immediate family perish. Otherwise, your state will love you for your donation with no survivor(s).

2) add a family person name to 'every' deed so in our case our residence and timeshares in 2 other states.
Generally all real estate will have to be probated and taxes paid, unless the surviving person takes deed and death certificate (with seal or copy) to County and re-records. Be careful as the last survivor(s) may bear taxes. A better method may be to sell real estate and use a rental residence and there is no real estate probate process. Same for timeshares by re-deeding to children.

3) have every family member make a will (Internet has forms that will stand up in court with witness signatures, in most State/County) for real estate or personal items. Real estate does require probate. Can also, give these personal items to children prior to death which simplifies it.
A good reference is "Nolo" executor's guide and other probate pages on nolo . com. I bought and used various books for CA and general use (OR, WA, TN).

Others will tell you to get a trust. That is fine, but have a trust clause so as not forget to add that last car or diamond or trailer you bought.

No matter what you do, be sure to share this information with the beneficiaries or your children or family. Copies or knowing where they are may be helpful or at least an instruction letter in a safe or desk or given to children or trusted family member will be most helpful.

Last, may want to review all your electronic email, shopping accounts, etc now so others at death may review, collect photos and close later.
(Sorry if this is a little lengthy.)
Thanks for the feedback! A complete description of what happens when you don't have an estate plan.
Did you try to use an LLC for the real estate property that is not your primary residence? In NJ, they like other states (e.g. NY, CA) try to use the reach of your owning real estate in the state to extend the probate to all your assets for taxation. They completely ignore that you may live elsewhere 100% of the year. The state claims because you were a resident, you are always a resident. One way around this is to retitle the real estate into an LLC and use the property less than 6 months/year.
No. No LLC. We have friends that used a LLC for a business and it was not needed. They had a mess closing.

We only have timeshares in 2 other States. This is Disney Vacation Club and has life end of 50 years. We just add a son to deed or sell to our sons when we are older, generally paying for transfer fees after Disney blessing for family members. It would then be theirs to pay annual maintenance fees and use.

Yes, there are other States that are punitive in their tax rules on residency, but will accept a percentage of living time based on utility receipts. CA does if you move to say TN.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)