We live in a beautiful country, and “snowbirds” seem to have found one of the best ways to enjoy as much of it as possible.  They enjoy the sun all year round by living in more northern regions during the summer and heading south for the winter months.  For many people, this is the epitome of the perfect retirement, and it rarely comes to mind that this lifestyle requires a little extra preparation with your estate planning attorney.

Estate planning documents are typically drawn up according to the laws of the state in which the individual resides.  But when you split your time between two or more states, it may become necessary to have multiple versions of your wishes drawn up, one that is legal in each state.

Why Go to the Trouble?

The biggest problem you can run into if you don’t have a version that is legal in each state is that the one you do have may not be honored.  So, if you’re down south for the winter and need to use a medical power of attorney due to illness or injury, the person you have designated in your documents from up north may not automatically be given that role.  In fact, the courts in the current state could appoint someone completely different.

Go Over Your Documents with Estate Planning Attorneys from Both States

Once you’ve drawn up the applicable estate planning documents here in Orange County, such as a will, trust, power of attorney and health care directives, it’s important to make sure your documents are compliant with the laws of the other state, too.   There may be additional planning necessary to protect you and your wishes.

Remember, laws vary quite a bit from state to state, so it simply isn’t enough to assume that documents drawn up somewhere else will fit your needs here in California.  If you’ve already gone to the effort of drawing them up in the first place, it means you understand the need for, and the importance of these documents.   With so much of the preparation already done, the cost will be negligible.  Take the next step and ensure that your planning wasn’t in vain.

If you’re ready to get started, be sure to give our Newport Beach trusts and estates law firm a call at (949) 260-1400.  We’re happy to review any planning you have in place and discuss the next best steps to ensuring you have a valid estate plan for each state in which you reside.