Dividing your time between Florida and somewhere else is a great opportunity when you want to escape cold winters in other states. If you are lucky enough to be a snowbird, though, you should consider how this arrangement affects your estate plan.
Is it in the right state?
Splitting time between states can create legal, financial and logistical issues when it comes to complicated situations like navigating probate, transferring property and paying taxes.
Every state has its own laws regarding these matters, so you want to be sure that documents like your will are valid in the proper location. You will also want to consider state-specific laws and whether they affect your planning decisions.
Are your decision-makers available in Florida?
You can have different versions of estate planning documents, including powers of attorney and an advanced directive, in both Florida and the other state where you live.
Knowing this is crucial because if you become sick or need someone to make decisions for you, you should know that someone you trust can step in and act on your behalf. If you only appoint people in your home state but not Florida, the parties you name could either be unavailable or have to take on the financial and logistical burden of traveling here.
What are your expected expenses?
Florida may have a significantly different cost of living. Everything from housing and food to healthcare and transportation can be more or less expensive. Taking this into account for the purposes of estate planning can be beneficial for many reasons.
Knowing what things cost in the state where you prefer to receive medical care or retire can influence decisions like:
- Whether you should establish a trust
- Which type of trust makes the most sense
- How much you need to earmark for medical expenses
- Whether you wish to receive in-home care if you are ill
- Where you want to live
Your estate plan should reflect these decisions accurately. Your will and other documents will play a critical role in what happens if you fall ill or pass away. Reviewing it now can give you and your loved ones the gift of knowing you are prepared for difficult situations.