Compassionate Palm Beach Estate Planning Attorney Helping Part-Time Florida Residents Avoid Issues
Trusted attorney reviews out-of-state estate plans to ensure compliance with Florida law
Millions of people in the U.S. enjoy the freedom of dividing their time between two places of residence. The warm, sunny weather combined with the beaches and other year around attractions makes Florida a popular destination for individuals and families seeking to escape the winter in their home states by spending a few months at a second home enjoying the sunny skies.
As a general rule, the estate plan you set up with the assistance of an attorney in your home state might be valid in Florida, but it is wise to let a skilled estate planning attorney in the Sunshine State review it to ensure that it complies with Florida law. For example, powers of attorney and health care directives executed in accordance with and valid under the laws of the state in which you resided when executing them should be valid in other states, but are not always recognized and familiar to Florida businesses and medical providers.
Although health care directives from another state should be legally valid, doctors and other health care providers might not be familiar with documents that are different those used in Florida. Hospital officials in West Palm Beach that are familiar with the state’s Health Care Surrogate Designation Form might hesitate when presented with a power of attorney for health care from another state.
You might have a form from another state with the same name as one that is used in Florida, but this does mean that it will comply with the law of both states. A power of attorney from New York might appear to be the same as Florida’s power of attorney, but if it contains a provision limiting its use only to situations in which you are incapacitated and unable to act on your own behalf, your power of attorney violates Florida law. So called “springing” powers of attorney are common in New York and some other states, but they violate current Florida law prohibiting a springing feature.
The cost of having another set of powers of attorney and health care directives prepared by an estate planning attorney in Florida is worth the peace of mind of knowing that your family will not have problems getting the documents accepted. The Florida documents along with the documents from your home state ensure that your wishes will be carried out and your affairs handled regardless of where you happen to be residing.
Another issue that can arise when individuals divide time between homes in different states has to do with the disposition of real estate upon their death. If you were to die as a resident of a state other than Florida, your family would have to file for probate administration of your estate in the state in which you maintain your primary residence. A separate proceeding, referred to as an “ancillary administration,” would be required in Florida to transfer ownership of real estate in this state.
Ancillary proceedings can be avoided by creating a trust and transferring ownership of property in this state into the trust. Upon your death, the property held in trust could pass to your beneficiaries, according to the terms of the trust agreement.
Estate planning for individuals splitting time between two states needs to be reviewed periodically to ensure the plan and the documents related to it comply with the laws in each state. At the Palm Beach law offices of Kitroser, Lewis & Mighdoll, a knowledgeable Florida estate planning attorney can review your estate plan to ensure that it does everything you want it to regardless of where you happen to be living at the time. Call 561-721-0600 to schedule a free consultation. You can also schedule your appointment through our website.