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Are my out-of-state estate planning documents good in Florida?

If you just moved to Florida and have estate planning documents done in another state, the documents themselves may be valid, but you would want to have a Florida attorney review the documents to make sure they are good.

Florida law says that if your estate planning document was valid in your original state, it will be valid in Florida. This is due to the full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution. So your existing document is "valid", but will it be as "good" as it should be?  Mileage will vary, but your out-of-state estate planning documents could likely be updated to make sure:

  • Applicable Homestead laws are correct - these complicated rules are very Florida specific
  • Durable powers of attorney are very state specific, so it should likely be updated. If you became incapacitated, you would not want to rely upon an out-of-state power of attorney, under most circumstances
  • Advance directives (your health care surrogate and living will) are fairly state specific, so they would likely need updating
  • Revocable living trusts are generally interpreted according to their state of origin, so it would likely need to be changed to correspond with Florida law

One of the first things we think about is that most of the time, most of us procrastinate making changes to estate planning documents, so it is likely that your estate planning documents are old and need to be updated, regardless.

The point to all of this is that your documents are likely valid, but a good estate planning/elder law attorney should review them to make sure you and your family should rely upon them.

If you want to learn more about your Florida estate plan, you are welcome to download our free book on Florida estate planning.

If you live in the area, we invite you to attend one of our free monthly seminars on estate planning.

 

D. Rep DeLoach III
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Estate Planning and Board Certified Elder Law Attorney
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