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Are there concerns for a planner who splits time between two states?

In considering the above-posed headline query for today’s blog post, let’s substitute the word “concerns” with the less alarming phrase “some things to think about.”

Because the bottom line is this: Legions of Americans – individuals and couples alike – spend a substantial amount of their time each year living in two or even more states. Although that might present a few paperwork challenges, it doesn’t automatically make their lives unduly complex from an estate planning context.

A recent Forbes article spotlighting the large and distinctive American crowd (which certainly comprises many Californians) that lives a material number of days each year in more than one state underscores a certain national consistency. It notes the “full faith and credit” that each state gives to the laws of other states pursuant to a constitutional mandate.

That provision makes for a less-than-rocky road for individuals and couples dealing with the rules and processes of multiple states, especially concerning something as typically complex as estate planning.

Still, there can be hurdles and challenges that must be responsively dealt with. The Forbes piece notes, for example, that states don’t uniformly use the same terms for health-linked documents (e.g., living will versus advance health care directive). The same is true concerning various powers of attorney. Forbes rightly points out that, “Financial and health care institutions are used to the documents used in their states and may refuse to honor out-of-state documents.”

Just to be sure about such matters, a planning individual or couple might reasonably want to confer with a proven local estate planning attorney. Doing so could ultimately avoid delay and/or confusion concerning a specific planning element.

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