Estate plans are “living documents.” This means that they can – and should – be updated as someone’s life situation and/or preferences change. If you already have an estate plan in place, you will have to revisit and update your estate plan as changes to your personal circumstances make such revisions necessary.
People usually update their documents after marriage or divorce, as well as when a member of their family who would have served in a supportive role or been a beneficiary of the estate dies. Fewer people recognize that geographic location can sometimes have a bearing on estate planning options.
If you recently moved to Florida, will you need to make some changes to your existing estate plan? The answer to that thoughtful question is, “Probably.”
Some of Florida’s laws are truly unique
Every state has its own approach to the probate process and the distribution of property when someone dies. Many of the basic rules are consistent from state to state with only certain details varying based on circumstance.
However, Florida has some laws that are different from the relatively standard estate and probate rules that are employed by much of the rest of the country. For example, you may have added a no-contest clause to your estate plan to prevent your children from fighting over your last wishes. However, Florida does not enforce no-contest clauses.
Having invalid terms in your estate plan might increase the risk of a probate challenge by those who could claim that the documents are outdated or unfair. Typically, even those who don’t have a no-contest clause in their estate documents will benefit from reviewing and updating their paperwork when they move to Florida.
Your needs may have changed as well
Yes, there is reason for concern if you included terms in your estate plan that the Florida courts are unlikely to uphold. However, many people would also benefit from reviewing their estate plans after they move, especially if they are recently retired or are getting ready to retire.
You may need to think about how you will protect your property from creditors or cover the cost of moving into a nursing home. Updating your estate plan when you move to Florida, especially if it has been years since you created the initial documents, will help ensure that you properly protected yourself and that the documents you leave behind when you die will hold up in Florida court.
Learning more about when to begin planning your estate or to revise your existing estate planning documents can help those concerned about their financial solvency as they age and/or their legacy after they die. It is an ongoing process but one that is worth embracing.