According to a National Association of Realtors 2013 survey, vacation home sales rose to more than 550,000 last year, up about 10 percent from 2011. This means that more and more New Yorkers are likely to die owning estates that include property in another state, such as a vacation home in Maine (where fully eight percent of properties are second homes) or Florida. This introduces some wrinkles into your estate planning and can potentially complicate the probate process.
Do I need a second will?
No. Your New York will, when prepared by an experienced New York elder law attorney, can be drafted to dispose of all of your property, including real estate located in other states or even foreign countries. However, a supplemental or ancillary probate proceeding may be needed for that out-of-state property.
Where are ancillary probate proceedings held?
In general, an ancillary probate proceeding will need to take place in the probate court of the county where the real property is located. If a New Yorker owns real property in Florida there will need to be a primary probate proceeding in the New Yorker’s county of domicile at death (a New York county), and an ancillary probate proceeding in the county in Florida in which the real property is located. This may require hiring an additional attorney.
Note that the reverse is also true. If a person who is not a New Yorker dies owning real property physically located in the state and has a will that disposes of that property, there will need to be a probate proceeding in New York. If the will is admitted to probate in the decedent’s home state, the primary probate proceeding will take place there, but New York is unusual in also permitting a primary probate proceeding for a non-resident to take place in New York.
The estates of New Yorkers who own property out of state, and out-of-staters who own property here in New York, are potentially especially complicated. If you fit into either of these two categories, our experienced New York estate administration attorneys can provide additional information upon request.