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Hurricanes and Estate Planning

The U.S. has recently been hit by three large hurricanes. People in the Houston area, Florida and Puerto Rico have all been displaced, as they wait for their homes to be rebuilt.

While much of the focus of media coverage has rightfully been placed on getting immediate relief to those people who need it and on getting homes rebuilt, hurricane victims who have temporarily relocated to another state or territory might need to revisit their estate plans.

Depending on the state where a displaced person has relocated, the laws of that state could consider such person domiciled in that state while awaiting for hurricane recovery.

This can be important for estate law purposes, as the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog discusses in “Hurricanes, Displacement and the Effect on Domicile.”

Unfortunately, there is not a standard uniform rule to determine where a person is domiciled for estate planning purposes.

It depends on the laws of each state.

That means it is best to check with an elder law attorney in the state where anyone might have temporarily relocated.

Once hurricane recovery is over and people move back home, they will want to revisit their estate plans again with attorneys in their home states.  Since assets might have been destroyed or changed during the hurricane, it is important to have that reflected in estate plans.

Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Sep. 23, 2017) “Hurricanes, Displacement and the Effect on Domicile.”

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