Elder Law Minute: Why People Who Own Property in Another State Really Need a Living Trust

In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson wants to make sure you are aware of living trusts and owning property in multiple states.


Hi! I’m Wes Coulson from Coulson Elder Law, proudly serving clients throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond. I’d like to welcome you to our Elder Law and Estate Planning Minute. We do these to help educate people, give them some little tips, and especially to let them know the questions they need to ask, things that they’ve maybe not thought of. Our thought on that is that we can help you best if you realize the things that you need help and that we can help you with. So I hope you enjoy. Thanks!

I’ve had a couple situations come up lately that serve as a reminder to me that I would like to pass along to you. That it’s really important, if you own property in a state other than your primary state of residence, say you have a condo down at the Lake of the Ozarks or an interest in a family farm in Tennessee or Iowa, or whatever it may be, that you really, really need to have a living trust, rather than a will. Why is that the case?

Well, real estate is a quintessential asset that has to go through probate, if you own in your name upon your death. And in order to have probate in a state where you don’t live, you can’t just start the probate there, you have to start with probate in the state of your residence. So, in other words, in order to pass along that condo at the Lake of the Ozarks, if you live in Illinois, you’re going to have first probate in Illinois and the court will certify that, and then you can start the second probate in Missouri.

Needless to say, that’s a pretty expensive proposition. The great thing about living trusts is, one of the reasons they are called living trusts, is that whereas people die, trusts live on until they have achieved their purposes. So, the problem that I’m talking about, the double probate, very expensive, you can avoid, simply by having a living trust and making sure that your living trust owns that real estate in your non-resident state. Thanks!

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Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (877)995-6876 or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.