If I Spend My Winters in Florida Should I have Separate Florida Estate Planning Documents?
If I spend my winters in Florida, should I have separate Florida estate planning documents?
As with many responses to legal questions, the answer is yes and no—one being the legal answer the other being the practical one.
Legally, the answer is no. Due to the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution, every other state must honor the laws of your state. That means that they must honor your will, trust, durable power of attorney and health care directive that are properly executed in your state. However, while the courts will honor the Constitution, that doesn’t mean that non-government institutions will do so, even if they should. For instance, banks in Florida may be uncomfortable with powers of attorney that do not match those used in Florida and hospitals may not honor out-of-state health care directives.
So, as a practical matter, it would be wise to execute a Florida durable power of attorney and health care directive along with those you have already signed in your home state. Just make sure that you appoint the same people as your agents as you do on your northern documents and make sure that they do not include any language revoking your other durable power of attorney and health care directive. Do not execute a new will or trust. That would just create confusion.