Complications of Owning Real Property in Multiple States

Hook Law News | Mar 16, 2018 | Hook Law Center

There is, of course, a great allure to the idea of owning an apartment in New York City, a summer fishing cabin in Alaska, or a beach house in the Outer Banks, but with additional benefits also comes additional complications. The complications not often contemplated when purchasing a property across state lines is the complexity it adds to your estate planning.

Any time a person owning property in multiple states passes away, it can create a much larger headache for a personal representative in charge of administering the decedent’s estate. If the decedent owned the property in his name alone, this will often require a probate administration not just in one state, not just in two states, but in just about every state the decedent owned real property. This adds a great deal of time and expense to the administration process. Indeed, the time and expense of multiple ancillary administrations can be five to ten times more expensive than it would have been for the individual to pay for proper planning during his or her lifetime.

Estate planning attorneys have a wide variety of tools to avoid the time and expense of not only a probate administration in a client’s home state, but also avoid any need for an ancillary administration in any other state. One of the most often cited tools used to avoid probate is a revocable living trust. Keep in mind, though, an often overlooked fact is that a trust only avoids the necessity of a probate administration if the property is actually transferred to the trustee of the trust during the grantor’s life. In other words, the deed to your house must be in your trust’s name, not your name. Transfer on death deeds, or limited liability companies can also be effective planning tools to avoid any need for an ancillary probate administration.

If you own any property across state lines (no matter its value), you should always let your estate planning attorney know and work this fact into your estate plan. The cost and expense of proper planning is by far cheaper than what it will cost your estate after your death without planning.

Ask Kit Kat – Bobcat in Captivity

Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, what can you tell us about Lynxie, the bobcat, who was found living in an industrial park in Illinois?

Kit Kat: Well, this is kind of a strange story. Lynxie, as the bobcat was known, was found in a police raid  along with a convicted felon named Philip Giese. Police received a tip that Giese had guns in an office in Orland Park, Illinois. It turns out he illegally had 2 loaded handguns and 100 rounds of ammunition. Drug paraphernalia was also found, as well as some suspicious substances which were sent to a crime lab for identification. He was also charged with alleged possession of a wild animal. There was no evidence that Giese had mistreated Lynxie, but he was declawed and was living in a 6’x6’ room in the warehouse, surrounded by cat toys. There was a large litter box and a climbing tree for him in the building.

Fortunately, for Lynxie, he is now being cared for by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Investigators are trying to find out if Lynxie belonged to Giese or someone else. It is not illegal to own a bobcat in Illinois, if the person has a permit from the US Department of Agriculture. Giese had no such permit. Montana and a few other states allow their possession.

According to a Google search, a bobcat kitten normally sells for about $1,700 each. While it may make good dinner conversation, I would not advise keeping a bobcat as a pet. Adult males range in weight from 14-40 pounds. Even without claws, that would be a formidable-sized pet. Wild animals should be allowed to roam free. (Howard Ludwig, “Lynxie the bobcat lived in office with cat toys, giant litter box, police say,” The Virginian-Pilot, p. 7)

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