A unique feature of Florida’s winter months is the arrival of visitors from New York and other northern states. These travelers, commonly referred to as “snowbirds,” make the journey south each winter to escape the frigid northern temperatures. If you are a New Yorker who is considering spending your next winter in Florida, below are some helpful tips to ensure that your move is a success.
Inform your financial institutions
Before taking off for Florida, be sure to inform your financial institutions of your move. Specifically, tell your bank and credit card companies that you’ll be traveling and making purchases in other states. This will help ensure that your bank and credit card companies don’t freeze or decline any purchases on your accounts.
Secure your northern home
If you plan on returning to your home in New York when the weather warms up, you need to take steps to ensure that your New York home is in good shape while you’re gone. For example, before heading south for the winter, you should:
- Turn the water off from the main shut-off valve.
- Drain the pipes.
- Set your air to around 60 degrees.
- Unplug all appliances and electronics.
- Ask a friend to collect or forward your mail.
Consider updating your estate plan
There are important estate-planning considerations that snowbirds should take into account prior to moving to Florida from New York. At a minimum, snowbirds should consider executing or updating the following documents prior to making the move:
Will – A will contains instructions about what should happen to your property after death. A will allows you to appoint a personal representative of your estate to carry out your last wishes. And if you have minor children, a will allows you to appoint a guardian to care for them. Everyone who travels frequently between states should have a valid will in place.
Living trust – A living trust, also known as a revocable trust, is used to bypass probate. In other words, upon death, all assets in a trust pass to your beneficiaries through the trust, providing them with extra asset protection. Upon inheriting property through a trust, your beneficiaries enjoy enhanced financial protection.
Consult with an attorney
If you plan on moving south this winter, you need the assistance of an experienced Florida and New York estate planning attorney. At the Law Office of Angela Siegel, we provide comprehensive estate planning services to clients who reside in New York, to those who reside in Florida, and to snowbirds who split time between both states. Angela Siegel is licensed to practice law in both New York and Florida, and she regularly assists residents of both states with their estate planning needs. Therefore, if you require estate planning assistance, please contact us today for a consultation.