Estate Planning | Probate | Business | Corporate | Asset Protection

Marc J. Soss, Esq.

(941) 928-0310 |


Sarasota | Bradenton | Lakewood Ranch | Osprey | Longboat Key | Venice | Bird Key | Siesta Key | Anna Maria Island | University Park | River Club

New Florida Resident Attorney


While your estate planning documents (Last Will & Testament, Revocable Trust, Power of Attorney and Health Care Surrogate Designation) may have been properly drawn in your former state of residence and valid under Florida law, there are several reasons why you should update your estate planning documents to insure they conform with Florida law:

• Every State’s laws are significantly different and could result in unintended tax, legal or beneficiary consequences (inheritance, elective share, homestead conveyance, contest clauses, community property, etc.) if your plan is not updated to Florida law.

• The documents may require administration under the laws of your former state of residence (something that may be difficult to apply in Florida).• Your estate planning documents devise of Florida "homestead" real property and handling of marital assets (elective share, contest clauses, etc.) may be invalid under Florida law.

• The individuals nominated to serve as your fiduciaries (personal representative, out-of-state bank, guardian, etc.) may not qualify to serve under Florida law. 

•  Florida does not recognize "Common Law" marriages (20 plus states and the District of Columbia do).  This may have a significant impact on your planning.



Moving to Florida has numerous tax advantages. Florida residents do not pay any state income tax, estate ("inheritance") tax or intangible tax. Florida's homestead laws limit annual increases to the assessed value of your personal residence to not more than 3% in any year. Florida's homestead laws protect every residents primary residence from the claims of creditors (except a mortgage holder). Additionally, Florida residents receive discounts at amusement parks, golf courses, museums, etc.Although there is no “bright line” test to determine Florida residency, several factors are considered extremely important:

• Registration to vote in Florida (your county of residence)
• Florida Drivers License
• Florida Automobile Registration
• Obtaining the Homestead Exemption on Real Property
• Listing your Florida address as your Primary Residence
• Having a Florida Physician, Accountant and Lawyer
• Affiliation with a local Florida Places of Worship (church, synagogue, mosque, etc.)
• A minimum of 6 months or more annually in Florida.      



Questions to be answered:
• Does your current state of residence imposes an income tax?  Florida has no state income tax.
• Does any form of  asset protection exists in your state? Florida provides protection under the Florida "Homestead" provision.
• Does your state of residence permit  dynasty trusts? Florida does and this fact will become even more important when estate taxes resume at a 55 percent tax rate.


Education Benefits for Military Families

• All military personnel and their dependents receive in-state tuition at any of Florida 's state universities and  community colleges.
• Dependents are eligible for Florida 's Bright Futures scholarship program. Potential funding up to 100% of college tuition. 

• Children enrolled in public schools are given priority placement in gifted and special needs programs and voucher scholarships.
• Florida 's Prepaid Scholarship program provides a four-year college scholarship (all Florida public universities and community colleges) to children of Florida service men and women who have given their lives in the war on terror.