I’m a Snowbird Who Lives Part-Time in Another State. Will My Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directive Still Work During Quarantine?

Will my estate planning documents work in another state

Shelter in place and quarantine orders are the rule of the day with the coronavirus outbreak. Many of these executive orders came while snowbirds and retirees were staying here in their second homes, and now they are likely stuck there for a little longer than they originally planned.

From a legal standpoint, many snowbirds are now wondering whether their designation documents, such as a Powers of Attorney and Living Wills/Healthcare Directives, are valid in states other than where they were originally drafted.

The answer, like most things in life, is that it depends.  Estate planning documents are generally based on state laws. While it’s possible that your documents are compatible with the laws in more than one state, it’s still important to have them reviewed for your security and peace of mind.

When we meet with clients who split their time between California and another state, we first review any documents that were previously created and analyze the laws anywhere the client may own or rent real property.  If we find that there are significant differences between the states’ laws, we will then work to amend the documents or take additional steps (such as dealing with signature or notary requirements) so that the client ultimately has a set of legal documents in hand that will be honored both here and at home.

We do, however, caution people about creating separate Powers of Attorney or Healthcare Directives for each state where they reside. This action may invalidate one or both of your sets of documents and add confusion for your loved ones, financial advisors, and healthcare providers. Again, when in doubt, call our Newport Beach will and estate lawyers. We’ll review what you currently have in place and guide you toward a solution that will ensure your wishes are honored wherever you are, if something happens. 

If you have additional questions about the effectiveness of your Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directive in a state where you live only part-time, or if you would like to have a brand new plan created so that your wishes are known and that someone of your choosing can make decisions for you if something happens, please our Newport Beach will and estate lawyers at (949) 260-1400 to set up a consultation.

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