The latest stats indicate that nearly 1000 people move to Florida every day and many are coming from northern states like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to seek the sun and the sand – and the tax advantages.
Given this, you’ll want to make sure your planning documents all comply with Florida’s laws, and the terms of any legal documents still work as intended and that you protect your assets, loved ones, and legacy, both here and there.
In this article, we’ll discuss how differing state laws can affect common planning documents and the steps you might want to take to ensure your documents are properly updated.
LAST WILL & TESTAMENT
The good news is, most states will accept a will that was executed properly under another state’s laws. However, there could be differences Florida’s laws that make certain provisions in your will invalid. Here are a few of the things you should pay the most attention to in your will when moving:
Consider whether or not the executor or administrator you’ve chosen will be able to serve in that role in your new location. Every state will allow an out-of-state executor to serve, but some states have special requirements that those executors must meet, such as requiring them to post a bond before serving. Other states require non-resident executors to appoint an agent who lives within the state to accept legal documents on behalf of the estate.
YOUR HOME AND ANY REAL ESTATE
Another important thing to consider when moving is if you are keeping your second home in another state and also purchasing one here in Florida. If you die without proper strategies and documents in place, your real estate may need to go through probate in each state you have real estate in. That’s because real estate is always governed by the law of the state in which it’s situated, not the law of the state where the owner lives.
REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST
A valid revocable living trust from one state should continue to be valid in Florida. However, you need to make certain that you transfer any new assets or property you acquire, such as your new home, to your trust, so that those assets can avoid the need to go through probate before being distributed to your heirs upon your death.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
A valid power of attorney document, such as a durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, or financial power of attorney, created in one state may be valid here. However, you shouldn’t just assume it will be accepted, and you should check with a lawyer like us to make certain your document will work 100% as intended.
What’s more, in some cases, banks, financial institutions, and healthcare facilities in Florida may not accept a power of attorney document if it’s unfamiliar to them, which is another reason to have these documents reviewed by a professional. Finally, simply as a practical matter, it may be a good idea to have your power of attorney agent live in the same state you do, so keep that in mind as well.
ADVANCE DIRECTIVE/ LIVING WILL
When it comes to advance directives, such as a living will and medical power of attorney, you’ll find that most states will accept documents that were created in other states, but this isn’t guaranteed. Some states, for example, don’t even have any laws governing these matters, so healthcare professionals may be hesitant to accept out-of-state documents.
Furthermore, the provisions, forms, and language used in advance directives can vary widely between states. For example, some states combine a medical power of attorney with a living will, so that you get to name the person in charge of making your medical decisions in the event of your incapacity and spell out your specific wishes for care all in one document. Yet, in other states the documents are separate. For these reasons, you should enlist the help of a lawyer to make sure your advance directives will be honored here.
While you are reviewing your directives you should also review them to ensure they are clear on your wishes regarding how you should be given nutrition and hydration if hospitalized. Many directives aren’t specific enough in this area, and this is exactly what led to the lengthy battle over Terry Schiavo’s life. In addition, check to see if you want to add or change any provisions to account for the current realities of COVID-19.
If you have accounts with beneficiary designations, such as 401(k)s, life insurance policies, and payable-on-death bank accounts, these should be valid no matter which state you live in. That said, you should still review these documents when you move to ensure that your address and other personal information is updated.
KEEP YOUR PLAN CURRENT
As with other major life events, such as births, deaths, and divorce, moving to Florida is the ideal time to have your plan reviewed by a professional. With us, at de Jesus Law Group, we’ll not only support you in creating the planning documents that are best suited for your situation and asset profile, but we also have systems and processes in place to ensure your documents stay totally updated throughout your lifetime.
Additionally, for parents of minor children, we can also help you create the legal documents for naming both short and long-term guardians, who would care for your kids in the event of your death or incapacity. This is so important, we’ve developed a comprehensive system called the Kids Protection Plan® that guides you step-by-step through the process of creating the legal documents naming these guardians.
You can get the process of naming guardians started right now for free by visiting our user-friendly website: https://dejesuslawgroup.kidsprotectionplan.com/
Schedule a Legal Life Planning Session with us to learn more about our services or to get your estate plan started or reviewed today.