Each year, many individuals head south to warmer weather in the winter months giving them the opportunity to enjoy the seasons of Minnesota while avoiding the bitter cold that often comes in January, February and March. Here are a few things to consider before you head south for the winter:
- Estate Documents – if you spend a few months in an alternate state every year, we recommend having Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive documents drafted in these states as well, to ensure the documents hold up. Every state has their own forms and rules, so it is a best practice to consider having documents in both states to ensure you have a document that can be followed.
- Taxes – if you are traveling south prior to the tax filing deadline, it will be important to begin gathering your tax documents prior to your departure. Most tax documents can be obtained online, but if you are not able to gather and complete everything prior to the April 15 deadline, we recommend working with your accountant to file an extension which will allow you to finalize your taxes once you return home.
- Medical Care – if you are over age 65 and on Medicare, you should be able to obtain medical care wherever you go within the United States, however, pricing may differ from your state of residence. If you are on private health insurance, we recommend researching what doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, etc. are within your network in your snowbird location.
- Bill Pay – to ensure a bill is not missed while you are away, consider setting up auto-pay for a majority of your bills.
- Mail – you can establish mail forwarding through USPS before you head south to allow for a smooth transition of mail delivery. While a lot of statements and other mail can now be delivered electronically, this will help to avoid mail piling up at your house while you are away.
- Home Maintenance – many snowbirds will ask a friend or family member to check on the home from time to time while they are away. You may want to consider turning off your water, setting the heat to low, closing the fireplace flue, and other maintenance items prior to your departure given the house will not have 24/7 monitoring while you are away.
There are many benefits to being a “snowbird.” Although there are many things to consider before heading south for the winter, we hope this list of reminders will make the planning process easier. One more thing that may help snowbirds: JNBA clients are welcome to have a virtual meeting with their Advisory Team via video calls, if they’d like to connect while they’re out of state. If you’re interested, please contact your advisory team to learn more.
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