While estate planning is essential for everyone, Florida’s seasonal residents can benefit from it far more than the average person. Not only are the “snowbirds” who frequent the Sunshine State typically in retirement, their estates are also subject to the probate laws of two different locations. Therefore, having a well-planned estate is key for ensuring their families are not left to undergo a complex probate process with nothing to guide them.
The first step for ensuring one’s will covers all the necessary bases is to seek out an experienced probate attorney in Miami. Our lawyers are helping seasonal residents get a head start by sharing some key considerations for establishing an estate plan when sharing residency equally between two different states.
Where to file a will?
Before one can actually begin to plan his or her estate, it is important to know where to do so. This will require taking the time to understand the inheritance laws and taxes in each state where residency is shared. From there, the individual will need to determine which location is better suited to serve as the “domicile,” meaning permanent home. Given Florida’s generous homestead exemption and lack of state income and estate taxes, it can be beneficial for both the filer and his or her heirs to use the Florida home as one’s domicile. Other actions will need to be taken to establish the domicile as well, such as filing a Declaration of Domicile, changing one’s address with all creditors, obtaining Florida registration if already registered in another state, and so on. Once the domicile has been effectively established, the state where the home is located is where the individual should file a last will and testament.
Additional steps to take
Filing a thorough and legally binding will is not the only step one must take to simplify the probate process for his or her heirs. Another step one can take is to set up a trust for his or her real estate property. Therefore, the trust will hold legal ownership of the residences, and neither will be subject to probate administration when the individual passes.
It is also advisable to give a trusted individual in each state the durable power of attorney. In the event that another person needs to make legal or financial decisions on the filer’s behalf, having someone who is already in that state responsible for doing so will make the process far easier. One must also consider the residency of the individual they wish to name executor of the estate. Though it will need to be one sole person, it is important to determine that the loved one or professional selected may need to be willing to travel to the other state where property is owned.
Whether you have questions about planning your estate as a seasonal resident or are simply ready to get started, a probate attorney in Miami can help. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our experienced team.