Our society is increasingly mobile and fluid. As the economy shifts to accommodate these attributes, more people are finding themselves frequently relocating between states, including Florida, in order to accommodate their financial needs. As a result, they often fail to craft acceptable estate plans because they are unfamiliar with the rules in their particular state. This is a bad financial decision, according to experts, because tragedy could strike at any time. Instead of waiting to plan for estate administration, you can craft a document that will travel with you.

If you relocate within your own state, it is unlikely that you will need to create a new will. That is because the vast majority of counties within each state use the same system. If you are planning an interstate move, however, you may need to take different steps. 

Although most wills crafted in other states are labeled as “valid,” some provisions might be different. Keep in mind that specific states have reciprocity procedures that allow for complete portability of your will, but that is a rare situation. Be sure that your estate planning documents include a self-proving affidavit, a document that prevents the witnesses to your will from being summoned to court when you die. You should also include a Durable Power of Attorney in these documents, a provision that will allow your spouse or another person to act on your behalf.

Finally, include your advance medical directives in your will. Most states recognize advance directives, such as DNR orders, from other states. It is likely that your new home state will allow you to use your existing documents, but you should still check with a qualified estate planning attorney.

Ultimately, you should not abandon the idea of making an estate plan simply because you plan to relocate in a few years. Even if you are only staying in your current home for a matter of months, consider making your will immediately. Your family will thank you for your attention to detail if unexpected tragedy strikes.

Luis E. Barreto