You recently moved to Florida to enjoy our beautiful year-round weather, pristine beaches, endless waterways, and outdoor lifestyle. No doubt, the fact that Florida does not have a state income tax and offers a lower cost of living than most others made the Sunshine State an attractive option, especially if you’re now retired. But in your excitement to relocate to a warmer climate, you might have overlooked one vital element: your estate plan. Whether you have an existing estate plan from another state or have yet to set one up, The Law Offices of Sherri M, Stinson, P.A., in Palm Harbor, FL, offers some valuable tips for estate planning, simplified.
As A New Floridian, Have You Established Florida Domicile?
Another benefit of living in Florida is that we have no estate tax right now, setting us apart from most other states. For this reason, we urge you to establish your Florida residency as soon as you possibly can. What happens if you don’t? Your estate could be subject to the estate taxes of the state you left behind. One significant component to establishing Florida as your home is claiming Florida as your domicile in your estate plan. Consider this 1992 case in which a Pennsylvania court ruled that a man with a Florida license, a Florida vehicle registration, and a Florida Homestead Exemption on his Florida house was domiciled in Pennsylvania and subject to Pennsylvania’s estate tax laws. Given all the facts, how could the court reach this conclusion? The man’s will stated he lived in Pennsylvania. Has this inspired you to update your estate plan? Reach out to the Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson in Palm Harbor, FL at (727) 361-9302 to schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer.
Have You Thought About Your Personal Representative?
A personal representative is sometimes referred to as an executor in other states. Suppose you have recently moved to Florida and have not updated your personal representative. In that case, you must know that Florida Probate Code requires that your personal representative is either a resident of Florida or a relative of yours. Did you designate someone in your will who does not fit either criterion? You must update it to comply with Florida law. Reach out to an estate planning lawyer immediately.
What About Marital Property?
In all the excitement of moving to Florida, you might not have considered marital property and your estate plan. If you moved from a state with community property laws, you must know that Florida does not have these laws. Why does this matter? Whether your property is community property impacts your ownership designation and tax obligations when you pass that property to your heirs. A Florida estate planning attorney can review your will’s or your living trust’s marital property clauses and update accordingly.
Did You Know About A Self-Proving Affidavit and Florida Wills?
Florida law mandates that a will be proved after the person passes away. No matter where that witness lives, they must testify to the will’s authenticity. Yes, this means that someone in Florida would take on the challenging task of searching for an old witness from years ago in a different state that could be more than halfway across the country. While we can’t blame you for thinking this is an antiquated system, there is a solution.
A self-proving affidavit can prove its authenticity for wills executed under Florida’s laws without requiring a witness to probate the will. Did you set up your will in another state? It may or may not contain a self-proving affidavit. To ensure your grieving loved ones a smoother process, meet with an experienced estate planning attorney in Florida to update your will as part of your comprehensive estate plan.
Why Should You Prepare for Florida’s Probate Rules?
A knowledgeable estate planning attorney will share Florida’s numerous laws for your consideration when reviewing your estate plan. For instance, the state’s unique and rigid homestead law could throw a wrench into your estate plans and prevent your beneficiaries from receiving what you intended for them. Why take the risk? Consult with an estate planning lawyer who can determine if it’s necessary to make any changes or add to your estate plan.
At the Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson, P.A. You Are Valued and Heard—Today, and For The Rest of Your Life
Estate planning attorney Sherri M. Stinson’s vision includes preserving families and providing them with peace of mind by taking care of all estate planning aspects. Here at the Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson, P.A., we sweat the small stuff—so you don’t have to. Whether you have recently relocated to Florida or are a Florida resident who has not created or updated your estate plan in a while, we can help.
As good stewards of your time and money, we will hold your hand, take care of you, and partner with you to design a detailed estate plan that suits your personal goals and family dynamics. To book a consultation, call us at the Law Offices Sherri M. Stinson, P.A. in Palm Harbor, FL, at (727) 361-9302, or fill out our online form.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.