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By: Joseph S. Klein
Of course! When relocating to Florida permanently, there is more to benefit from than just the beautiful weather. While it is likely that the Florida probate court will honor the will you drafted in the previous State you resided. Florida offers many estate planning benefits that your prior State may have not. For example, Florida is one of the only States that offers homestead protection, which among other things protects your home from creditors. This only applies to your permanent residence, so if you owned your house in Florida before permanently moving here, then most likely your will does not take this into consideration. Another great example is that Florida doesn’t have an estate tax. Unfortunately, moving here doesn’t eliminate the Federal estate tax.
From an even simpler perspective, upon passing, the will must be probated. This is not a fun process in any State, but chances are your current will takes into consideration your previous State’s probate process and not Florida’s. In Florida, the individuals who witnessed you signing the will may be called to testify to its authenticity. In many instances, this can be avoided by having your witnesses complete an affidavit at the same time of your will signing. However, if this was not done, then it may be hard to get your witnesses to Florida and the probate process will take even longer. Additionally, even though your will may be valid in another State, there can be many reasons that invalidate it in Florida (see valid will requirements). This would be the worst case scenario and means that you would die intestate. When you die intestate, your estate is devised based on Florida’s probate laws and not your final wishes. For example, if you wanted to leave something to someone special who is not related to you, most likely they will be left out.
At DKN Legal, PLLC, we want to help you and place your mind at ease that your final wishes will truly be honored and provide relief from the stress that your loved ones are experiencing. Call today to schedule your free estate planning review.