Butler Law

Is updating an estate plan important after a move to Florida?

Many people in Florida have moved from another state. Whether for retirement to a warmer climate or for job opportunities, there are many reasons why Florida attracts new residents. When a person moves to Florida and already has an estate plan, there are certain things to keep in mind.

If a person moves to Florida they may have questions about their estate plan that was created in another state. A will that was created in another state is valid in Florida with some exceptions. One is if a person now homesteads in Florida and the will states that the house should be put into a trust for the benefit of a spouse and children after a death, that would be a problem. A Florida homestead is devisable only to a surviving spouse and cannot be controlled by a trustee. Another issue to be aware of is if the will states that upon a person's death, the house should be sold and assets split among the children. If a spouse is still alive, this won't work, and a homestead exemption can be lost for creditor protection purposes. One other problem is that the out of state will may name an executor who is not a relative. Florida only allows a nonrelative to be an estate executor if they are a resident of the state.

Having an up-to-date estate plan can be comforting for a family. While they enjoy their new residence, they can also enjoy knowing that their affairs are in place in the event they pass away. Many people do not even know that their will may not be valid in another state, which is why it is important to update one as soon as one moves.

An attorney who specializes in estate planning should review a person's existing estate planning documents to make sure they are valid in Florida. They can advise their client as to how their estate plan may need some updating, including any power of attorney documents. An attorney understands how important it is for a family to have an estate plan that covers all of their needs. They know these estate plans bring their clients peace of mind knowing that their wishes will be followed upon their death.

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