I'm a Florida Snowbird from Michigan - Where Should I Find a Lawyer?

If you are one of the significant number of Michiganders who flock to Florida in the winter, your legal matters need to take the laws of both states into account — but how can you make sure that happens? At BRMM, our answer to your question, “Where should I find a lawyer?” is: right here in Michigan. Attorney Andrew Mayoras passed the Florida Bar and now is licensed to practice in both Michigan and Florida. For Michiganders with interests in both states, BRMM is able to provide services that fully address both Michigan and Florida legal requirements.

The Michigan community in Florida is substantial. As far back as 1970s, people from the Detroit area began making the annual migration to Florida. Michiganders then and now tend to stick together in the Sunshine State, favoring communities on the Gulf Coast in and around Naples. A decade ago, the University of Florida conducted a study that ranked Michigan second (to New York) in the number of people choosing Florida as their winter residence. Recent statistics from other sources put Michigan behind a handful of other states, but the Florida winter population from Michigan is still quite significant.

If you are from Michigan and spend your winters in Florida, you need to be aware that many provisions of the laws in both states can apply to your legal and financial affairs, especially if you own property in both states. Having a lawyer who is licensed to practice in Michigan and Florida is the best way to ensure that your legal matters are in order in both places. Knowing how individual state laws can affect you and your family is a first step in the process of getting all your legal needs addressed.

Even Simple Questions Have Complex Answers

One common issue Michiganders face when they spend much of the year in Florida is which state should be their legal residence. The question is straightforward. The answer is anything but simple. Each state has laws governing residency requirements that must be met for the state to be a person’s legal residence. Once residence is established, numerous laws of the residence state governing taxes, estates, and other legal matters come into play. As long as you own property in more than one state, the laws of the other state will also apply as well.

For example, many people with homes in both states want to take advantage of the fact that Florida, unlike Michigan, has no state income tax. But there are many more tax (and other) implications of determining which state is better for deciding on a primary residence.

Estate Planning for Michigan and Florida

Regardless of which state is your legal residence, your estate plan needs to take into account the fact that you spend significant amounts of time in both places — and that is particularly important if you own property in both states. While generally Florida recognizes the validity of an estate plan created in Michigan, there are some differences between Florida and Michigan laws governing estates and probate.

It is unlikely that you will need to create an entirely new estate plan when you move to Florida or start spending your winters there; however, it is very important to have your Michigan- and Florida-licensed attorney review your estate plan and make any revisions or adjustments that may be necessary.

Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives

An essential component of your planning that needs to be addressed concerns your powers of attorney for financial matters and medical care. While a power of attorney or advance directive drawn up by a Michigan attorney can be fully effective in Florida, a local healthcare provider or other professional may be hesitant to act on documents from a different state.

Quite naturally, Florida professionals in healthcare and other fields are most comfortable with Florida documents. Presenting a Michigan document can cause delays, which is especially critical when facing medical circumstances requiring immediate attention. In addition, Florida laws governing powers of attorney and healthcare advance directives are updated fairly frequently, so updating documents to comply with current laws should be a priority.

Trust and Estate Administration

Michigan and Florida both have specific state laws governing trust and estate administration, as well as probate. The laws of the two states differ in some important respects. Ensuring compliance with the laws of both states is critically important.

Talk with our BRMM Attorneys about Your Legal Needs in Michigan and Florida

Now that attorney Andrew Mayoras is licensed to practice law in Florida, BRMM’s capabilities include providing legal services to Michigan clients who have a Florida residence or other legal needs in both states. We have been serving clients in southeastern Michigan since 1970s and are proud to expand our services to include the ability to meet the Florida needs of our clients.

Call us at (248) 494-4577 or complete our online form to set up a free initial consultation.

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