“Snowbirds” and Estate Plans


The leaves are changing and there’s a crisp chill in the air. We all know what that means… Winter is on the way. To escape the cold, you’ve become a “snowbird,” as the locals call it. You have a second home or a long-term rental and spend the freezing months enjoying the warmth of the Sunshine State.

So how does that affect your estate planning documents when you “fly south for the winter?”

Estate planning attorney Randy Doane of Doane & Doane says:
“Each state sets its own requirements for the validity of wills, as well as power of attorney and health care proxies. If you live in two different states, you will want to ensure your estate planning documents comply with the laws in both states, and you may choose to execute documents valid in each state as some states have stricter laws than others. ”

For example, Florida requires that a health care proxy be signed in the presence of two adult witnesses, who cannot be your named health care surrogate. If your state requires just one witness, it is still advisable to follow Florida’s stricter requirements. Otherwise, you will want to be sure to create a separate document complying with Florida law. Also, probate is controlled by state law, with your state of residence taking control over the property within it.

You may also benefit from setting up a trust that will own your homes in different states. By creating a trust, you may be able to avoid the need for probate entirely, not just in Florida, but in your home state too.

So if you’re one of the nearly one million seasonal residents that call Florida home during the winter months and you have questions about your out of state estate planning documents, the experienced attorneys at Doane & Doane will be there for you with the answers. Find them online today at doaneanddoane.com.