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Why “snowbirds” need to review their estate plan

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Once the holidays are over, a significant number of folks relocate from colder climates down to Florida, where it’s sunny and warm all year long. 

Unfortunately, most of them don’t realize that they should make certain that they bring all of their estate planning documents with them – and probably get them updated.

Each state has unique laws for advance directives

One of the biggest issues that snowbirds face is the fact that their health care advance directives, health care surrogate designations (which may be called a medical power of attorney in other states) and anatomical donation requests may not be valid in this state. 

That could lead to an unpleasant shock if they’re suddenly incapacitated. It could also lead to delays in medical care or cause their wishes to be violated while the legal complications are worked out.

Good planning can help avoid duplicate probate

Another issue that may need to be addressed is the best way to avoid an “ancillary” or secondary probate. You can only have one primary domicile – so wherever you live for the majority of the year and have the majority of your property will likely control the probate process. 

Unfortunately, a secondary probate process is often necessary when someone holds property in more than one state – unless they take steps to avoid it. 

Snowbirds who make Florida their seasonal home, reviewing their estate plans with the appropriate legal guidance is a vital step toward safeguarding their future and making sure their loved ones are not unduly burdened when they die.


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