If you spend some time in New York and some time in Florida, you may wish to consult your accountant about determining your domicile (as, depending on the answer, you will owe very different taxes). You may also think about consulting with two different local attorneys regarding your estate planning, as both New York and Florida have real differences in Will execution formalities, asset and homestead protection, Health Care and Power of Attorney languages, Medicaid eligibility rules and estate taxes. Consider this non-exclusive list of differences:

  • Asset Protection: In Florida, creditors cannot force the sale of your homestead to satisfy a judgment. In New York, on the other hand, the homestead protection is limited to the first $165,000 (and may be even less, depending on the county in which you live), which, considering the price of a home in New York State, does not amount to a meaningful amount.
  • Will Formalities: Unlike New York, Florida law requires the Testator to sign the affidavit along with the witnesses.
  • Medicaid Eligibility: In Florida, to qualify for Medicaid, an individual over 65 years of age cannot have more than $2,000 worth of assets and $2,250 in monthly income. In New York, to qualify for Medicaid, an individual cannot have more than $15,000 worth of assets and no more than $825 in monthly income.
  • Taxes: In Florida, there is no estate tax or state income tax. In New York, there is an estate tax: assets above $5,250,000 will be taxed at a rate between 10 and 16%. There is also a state and city income tax.

Changing state domicile has serious consequences. Don’t do it without consulting a specialist and reviewing all your options.