Many families have an out-of-state cabin or vacation home that’s passed down by putting the property in a will. While that’s an option, bequeathing an out-of-state home this way may not make it as easy as you think for your family to inherit this home in the future. Beck & Lenox Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC, suggests reading Florida Today’s recent article entitled “Avoiding probate: What is the best option for my out-of-state vacation home?” .
The article explains the reason to look into a more comprehensive plan. While you could just leave an out-of-state vacation home in your will, you might consider protecting your loved ones from the often expensive, overwhelming and complicated process of dealing both an in-state probate and an out-of-state probate.
There are options to help avoid probate on an out-of-state vacation home that can save your family headaches in the future. Let’s take a look:
- Revocable trust: This type of trust can be altered while you’re still living, especially as your assets or beneficiaries change. You can place all your assets into this trust, but at the very least, put the vacation home in the trust to avoid the property going through probate. Another benefit of a revocable trust is you could set aside money in the trust specifically for the management and upkeep of the property, and you can leave instructions on how the vacation home should be managed upon your death.
- Irrevocable trust: similar to the revocable trust, assets can be put into an irrevocable trust, including your vacation home. You can leave instructions and money for the management of the vacation home. However, once an irrevocable trust is established, you can’t amend or terminate it. (Actually, you may be able to change it if ALL parties to the trust agree. We will address that at another time.)
- Limited liability company (LLC): You can also create an LLC and list your home as an asset of the company to eliminate probate and save you or your family from the risk of losing any other assets outside of the vacation home, if sued. You can protect yourself if renting out a vacation home and the renter decides to sue. The most you could then lose is that property, rather than possibly losing any other assets. Having beneficiaries rent the home will help keep out-of-pocket expenses low for future beneficiaries. With the creation of an LLC, you’re also able to create a plan to help with the future management of the vacation home.
- Transfer via a deed: When you have multiple children, issues may arise when making decisions surrounding the home. This is usually because your wishes for the management of the house are not explicitly detailed in writing.
- Joint ownership: You can hold the title to the property with another that’s given the right of survivorship. However, like with the deed, this can lead to miscommunication as to how the house should be cared for.
Bequeathing an out-of-state home properly will make certain the property continues to be a place where cherished memories can be made for years to come. Talk to a qualified estate planning attorney like Jay Lenox of Beck & Lenox for expert legal advice for your specific situation.
Reference: Florida Today (July 2, 2022) “Avoiding probate: What is the best option for my out-of-state vacation home?”