I’ve talked about how you are a unique snowflake. And the reasons why you are unique can be boiled down to three factors. The first reason you are unique is that location matters. Where you live dictates the law that applies, how important things will play out when you die, and what options you have to minimize the cost and delay in that playing out.
We live in a time where we recognize the importance of location. Food, culture, and t-shirts… heck, candles pay homage to location. One thing not enough people consider is that death law is incredibly local.
Have you ever heard things like “everyone needs a living trust” or “everyone needs to avoid probate“? Maybe. It depends on how things play out…. where they will play out.
I live in Minnesota. And here, we are really bad for estate taxes and nursing home payments. Minnesota is one of the few states that has its own estate tax. But. We are really good when it comes to transferring assets. Our court probate procedures are set up to move as quickly as it can at a fairly predictable and reasonable fee. We also have very easy ways to set up automatic transfers. We can even set up car ownership to transfer automatically at our death. But, we have many more people whose assets might be reduced by estate taxes and ways the state can recover what they spent on nursing home care.
Other states are different. Maybe they don’t have a state estate tax. Maybe their fees for probate proceedings are astronomical or their timelines are based on months and years, not weeks. Maybe the law only allows for locals to act on behalf of an estate. Solutions that work great for significant problems in one state, might not be worth the cost in another. Some solutions that work great in one state, might actually cause problems in another.
It really does matter where you are. How you organize your affairs should be based on the issues that will come up. A big part of that is the law where things have to be dealt with and that’s usually where you live. That’s why it’s so incredibly important that you meet with an attorney licensed in your state. An attorney who has been through that particular rodeo before. That way, you can know what issues your loved ones will confront and ones that may ultimately not be much of a big deal.
Yes. You are a precious, unique snowflake. And location matters.