Snowbird Estate Planning-Where to Start?

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Thinking of Wintering Somewhere Warm? Don’t Forget Snowbird Estate Planning

Many people planning for retirement dream of having the title “Snowbird.” This is the practice of dividing your year between two or more places you love-somewhere warm in the summer and a different one that is warm in the winter. Snowbirds can enjoy gorgeous northern summers while keeping warm all winter long somewhere in the south or southwest. Snowbird estate planning is an important step in setting up a such a lifestyle.

If considering this lifestyle, remember the impact it can have on your assets when you pass away. Should a Snowbird dies in New York, the laws governing the estate can be totally different than those in Florida and Arizona. When you split your time between two states, you must choose which state is your true home or “domicile.” This may be determined by the amount of time you spend in each state. If you can choose your home, work with an experienced estate planning attorney to figure out which state’s laws are going to be the most advantageous to you.

All kinds of factors can influence your choice of home. It could be the property laws of each state, your marital status and even tax rates. For example, Florida doesn’t have state estate taxes. Non-tax considerations should also be considered. Do you have a chronic medical condition? Perhaps there are better specialists in one state versus the other. Do you have more support in one state versus the other?

Even if you “live” in both states, you can only be officially domiciled in one. You are then considered a visitor in the other state. An estate planning attorney can help review and compare the laws of each state. Contact us to learn more.