Estate PlanningFloridaIncome TaxInheritance Tax (相続税)IRANew YorkPennsylvaniaSnowbirdTax Planning

‘Tis the Season to be a Snowbird

'Tis the Season to be a Snowbird

Ah, the weather outside is frightful.
And Florida is so delightful.
You’ve packed up your things to go…
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Seriously, weather aside, have you ever wondered why so many older wealthy people retire to Florida. Well, maybe this answer will help – a relatively affluent person can buy a second house in Florida with the tax savings ALONE!

Let me give you an example: Let’s assume that you have a couple in their 70’s with about $4 Million in Assets. They have an IRA of $1 million, brokerage assets of $1,000,000, Life Insurance of $1,000,000, a house worth $600,000 and miscellaneous other assets of $400,000. They are leaving everything to their children.

If this couple died as residents of New Jersey, EVEN WITH adequate estate planning other than a life insurance trust, there would still be a NJ estate tax of about $210,000 on the second to die of the husband and wife.

If this couple died as residents of Pennsylvania, EVEN WITH adequate estate planning other than a life insurance trust, there would still be a PA inheritance tax of about $135,000 on the second to die of the husband and wife. (Note, with a $4 million dollar estate, a small state inheritance tax may be due on the first to die in order to avoid a much larger federal estate tax on the second to die.)

If this couple died as residents of New York, EVEN WITH adequate estate planning other than a life insurance trust, there would still be a NY inheritance tax of about $190,000 on the second to die of the husband and wife.

If this couple died as residents of Florida, then there is ZERO Florida estate or inheritance tax.

Now, factor in the additional benefits. In addition to lower property taxes in Florida, Florida is also the only one of these three states not to have an income tax. (It should be noted though that Pennsylvania does exempt IRA distributions from the state income tax.) So, let’s make an additional assumption that this couple lives another 20 years and that they take out about $1 million dollars from the IRA during that time. (I’m not going to get into the time value of money.) This would produce an aggregate state income tax of approximately $70,000 for NY and $65,000 for NJ.

In total, moving to Florida would help save:

  • $275,000 for a NJ resident;
  • $260,000 for a NY resident; and
  • $135,000 for a PA resident.

Now, these savings may not purchase a mansion, but you can certainly find a nice house (especially in this real estate market) with the tax savings from moving. Obviously, the wealthier you are, and the more you have in your IRA, the better the result.

An attorney licensed to practice in Florida plus your home state can help you move down to Florida in a way that will be most cost efficient. This includes preparing the appropriate estate planning documents in Florida, mitigating the necessity for ancillary probate in the your original home state, and properly setting up your other legal documentation to prove that you are a Florida domiciliary.

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DISCLAIMER: All the usual disclaimers found elsewhere on this Blog plus a disclaimer that all tax calculations are approximate and made for tax year 2009.

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