Despite Hurricane Ian, Florida will continue to be a preferred destination for people traveling from other states. Last year, more than 330,000 people transferred their legal residence to the state.
I love living here and it’s a great place to raise a family. Sure, the warm weather, beaches, and golf courses are great, but there are also good tax and estate-planning reasons to move here. For example, there is no state income tax or inheritance tax. Florida also provides several property tax exemptions on primary residences.
But if you’ve had enough of snow and cold and want to make Florida your permanent home, to realize all the benefits of residing here, you’ll need to follow a number of steps and properly prepare your assets. Many of them are related to showing the government that you are serious about your intentions. This includes notifying the IRS and your state’s tax authorities that you are moving your primary residences, providing your new address to the Social Security Administration, obtaining a driver’s license or Florida ID card, registering your Florida-based vehicles with the state, and changing credit cards to your Florida address.
This is just the start, however. The idea is to do your best to prove that your primary residence is in Florida. In a checklist for New Yorkers who want to move to Florida published by a New York law firm, for example, #24 says, “Do not spend more than 184 days in New York State after moving to Florida.
Another crucial step is to update your estate plan. States each have their own laws and regulations regarding estates, and until you update your estate, it will likely be governed by the state in which you were previously domiciled.
Florida, for example, has certain requirements for who is eligible to be an executor, called a personal representative here. You must be a resident of Florida or related to the person who appointed you their personal representative, and you cannot have a felony conviction to begin with. The manner in which your principal residence will be transferred to the beneficiaries upon your death must also meet various requirements.
Florida laws may also differ from those of other states when it comes to enduring powers of attorney, living wills, and other documents related to estate planning.
Don’t try to make Florida your permanent home alone. There are a lot of ins and outs to the process and state laws are constantly changing.
And if you haven’t made an estate plan yet, don’t delay. You should have one in place to ensure that what happens to your assets reflects your goals for your family and other beneficiaries. Trusts can be effective financial planning tools for purchasing life insurance, making charitable donations, and managing how and when beneficiaries receive funds.
The Sunshine State is an ideal place to have a permanent residence. Just make sure you’ve checked everything you need to do before settling here.
Evan R. Guido is the founder of Aksala Wealth Advisors LLC, a member of the Forbes Next-Gen Advisors 2018 list and a finance professional at Avantax Investment ServicesSM. Evan leads a team of retirement transition strategists for clients who consider themselves the “millionaire next door”. He can be reached at 941-500-5122 or [email protected] To learn more about his ideas, visit heraldtribune.com/business. Securities offered by Avantax Investment ServicesSM, member FINRA, SIPC. Investment advisory services offered by Avantax Advisory ServicesSM, insurance services offered by an insurance agency affiliated with Avantax. 6260 Lake Osprey Drive, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34240.