Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Resident of Ohio, Vacation Property in Minnesota--Two wills?

Question: I previously executed a will that only disposes of my vacation home in Minnesota. I now wish to execute a will for all my other property. Can I have two separate wills, one for the Minnesota property and another for all my other property?
Answer: When revocable trusts are used to pass on testator's property after death (also known as a living trust), it's not uncommon to create separate living trusts for various parcels of real property owned by the testator. However, separate wills is not standard. Most last will forms (such as the sample last will at MedLawPlus.com) explicitly revoke all prior last wills. I see no reason to have two separate wills under the facts related above. The only fact pattern I have run across where it is common for a testator to have two wills is the situation where he or she lives in the United States but owns real property outside of the United States.

Under the fact pattern given in the question, the typical setup is for the testator to create one will disposing of all property. At death where a decedent who lives in one state but owns real property in another, two probate estates are created: one in Minnesota just for the real property decedent owned in that state and a second estate in Ohio for the remainder of decedent's property. The fact that the will was executed in Ohio (i.e., the decedent's state of residence) according to that state's probate code will not prevent its admission into probate court in Minnesota for disposition of the real property in that state.