Snowbirds: Are You Protected When You’re Out Of State?

  • Estate Planning
Snowbirds: Are You Protected When You're Out Of State? | Attorney Mario Godoy | Lombard Estate and Probate Legal Group

Are you a snowbird who splits your time between your home in Illinois and a home in another state? Retirees from northern states such as Illinois often spend much of the year in warmer climates as part-time residents, commonly called snowbirds, so they can enjoy recreational activities and hobbies year-round. As more employees are able to permanently transition to become remote workers, the option of splitting your time in different locations has become popular with younger people, including families who are able to homeschool or attend remote school. Commonly called digital nomads, remote workers who split their time between one or more locations – for the experience, to spend more time with family, for the weather – have many of the same legal issues that snowbirds have when it comes to claiming their home state or primary residence.

Many snowbirds have an estate plan in place, but may not have considered all the factors to make sure they are protected when they are out of their home state for extended periods of time.

3 Estate Planning Tips for Snowbirds and Digital Nomads

1. Establishing Your Place of Legal Residence
Traditionally, wherever you spend more than 183 days per year is considered your home state. Today, however, more people divide their time between 3 or more locations, and may not spend 50% of the year in their “home state.” An experienced estate planning attorney can guide you on documenting and creating a paper trail to provide proof of your residency.

2. Wills and Trusts
Estate planning documents signed in one state may not be legal in another state. For example, the state of Illinois requires the signature of 2 witnesses to execute a valid will. If your state of residence only requires one witness signature, but you spend the majority of your time in Illinois and die in Illinois, it will complicate things when it comes time to settle your estate. Most states do recognize another state’s properly executed estate plan, but it may complicate settling your estate.

3. Healthcare Proxies
With increased awareness of the importance of executing an advanced healthcare directive or power of attorney in case you become seriously ill, digital nomads and snowbirds have an extra step to ensure that their healthcare directions will be followed if they are away from their primary place of residence. If you are seriously ill and require medical care, you don’t want to delay your treatment – or have measures taken that you do not want – because your healthcare directive does not conform with the requirements of your current state.

If you are a snowbird or digital nomad who spends significant amounts of time away from your place of legal residence, an experienced estate planning attorney can provide guidance to ensure your estate plan is valid when you are out of state.

Learn More: Snowbird Estate Planning: What Is a Residency Audit?

Estate Planning Is Preparing For The Future

To make sure you are protected and your will, trusts and healthcare directives are compliant when you are out of state, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard Illinois today at 630-864-5835.