Although the numbers fluctuate from year to year, Florida remains a popular destination for northeasterners and midwesterners to vacation and, in many cases, to own a second home. This is particularly true for New Yorkers, who have claimed Southeast Florida as the “Sixth Borough.” The so-called New York–Florida connection raises a variety of legal issues that can be complex for the New York practitioner advising the Florida snowbird. The same issues arise for any practitioner advising the dual jurisdiction client.
I have practiced in New York since 1990 and in Florida since 2005, so these issues arise frequently in my New York- and Florida-based elder law and special needs planning practices. This article will inform the New York attorney about some of the most important aspects of Florida law that must be considered when counseling clients with a nexus to Florida. Understanding these rules will help New York practitioners counsel the Florida snowbird client who is deciding whether to remain a New York resident or become a Florida resident and to identify when it is appropriate to bring a Florida attorney into the planning process.