Having a residence in another state is not uncommon for many Floridians. While this clearly provides many benefits for the individual’s lifestyle, it requires some extra planning by an estate planning lawyer in Clearwater.
State of Domicile
While a person may have a residence and spend time in more than one state, they may have only one domicile, which as defined by an estate planning lawyer in Clearwater, is the person’s legal home. If that fact is in dispute, the primary consideration is the person’s intent, as evidenced by some of the following:
• Where the person holds their driver’s license
• Where the person is registered to vote
• The mailing address the person uses for federal and state income tax purposes
As each state has different laws regarding probate issues, there can be a significant impact on the heirs and beneficiaries depending on the person’s legal residence. This impact can be even greater in instances where one state is a community property state and the other is a non-community property state or where the person dies and leaves an intestate estate.
Not only is the state of domicile on the date of death an important factor, so too is the consideration of which state the estate planning documents were executed in. Again, each state has its own laws. Issues to consider include:
• The executor; some states place limitations on who may be named as an executor if that person is not a state resident. At the very least, the fact that an executor may have to travel to another state for probate purposes should be considered.
• Advance healthcare directives; sometimes called living wills, these documents provide guidance for the type of medical care the person wishes to receive if incapacitated. The forms as well as the limitations may vary by state.
• Durable powers of attorney; these documents appoint an individual to handle a person’s financial needs if that person becomes incapacitated. This is especially important to consider if the person conducts business in both states.
Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer in Clearwater for Legal Advice
The planning necessary to properly safeguard an estate is more difficult for those with residences in two states. Be certain your interests are well protected. Call the Coleman Law Firm at 727-461-7474.