For updated COVID-19 precautions and FAQs, please click here for more information.

Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Fair Oaks Lawyer Explains How To Tackle Estate Planning When You Live in Two States

March 11, 2013

Being able to split your time between two or more places you love is a much-desired retirement dream for many people. A great example is those folks referred to as “snowbirds” who live further north in the US during the summer and then head back to the warmer southern states for the winter. That allows folks to enjoy our gorgeous summers, while enjoying the warm winters elsewhere.

Many people living this lifestyle completely overlook the fact that it can have a major impact on what happens to their assets when they die. If you were to pass away in California, the laws governing your estate may be totally different than those in Florida, Arizona, or whatever warmer state you’ve chosen for the cooler seasons.

Some Laws Differ from State to State

First, you need to make a decision about which state is your true legal residence. This may be affected by the amount of time you spend in each or some other factor. If you’re in a situation where you truly can choose, then you really want to work with a Fair Oaks trust and estates lawyer to figure out which state’s laws are going to be the most advantageous to you and your estate. There are all kinds of factors that can influence this decision, such as the property laws of each, your marital status, asset protection laws and even tax rates. For example, Florida has been known for not having estate taxes at all. This is great, but it does have other taxes that could come into play.

When you pass away owning property in more than one state, your estate can end up going through probate in both states. This can be time consuming and expensive. However, you can avoid it by working with a Fair Oaks trust lawyer to set up some trusts and other protections. There are some documents, however, that you might want to consider creating in both states where you reside. For example, it may be helpful to have medical and financial powers of attorney drawn up in both California and the other state in order to avoid problems and delays should they be needed.

What Do You Do When You Live In Two States?

Even if you “live” in both states, you can only officially reside in one. You are considered a visitor in the other state. A Fair Oaks trust attorney will be able to help get you up to speed on the laws of our state and can help you compare them to similar laws in the other state where you reside. Just as you’ve chosen to live in two states for the advantages to your life, there are also advantages to what happens after!

Free Resources


I totally see the difference between your service and your typical legal estate planning service. The experience you mentioned where you get this big document you don’t understand and a trust that never gets funded was EXACTLY our first experience. It cost a small fortune too. Really - it is the difference between providing a legal document and providing an estate planning service.

As Seen On