Gotta love these questions sometimes.
Alfonso J. Mollica CPA
To recap your scenario: Wife still qualifies for the $250,000 exclusion on the anticipated Wantagh sale because it is still her primary residence. Husband can no longer take the $250,000 for the Wantagh house because his primary residence is upstate.
However, I would maintain the husband never changed his primary residence, he simply took advantage of his retirement and spends more time in their vacation home. I'd instruct him to keep his primary address in Wantagh, vote in Wantagh, keep his driver's license address there, and visit often. Also, keep social contacts in Wantagh, church/temple memberships, etc.
Note Primary residence is not based on a count of days spent in any location, your 'domicile' is where your heart and home are. Keeping a wife and residence in Wantagh, and frequently returning, indicates his heart is still in Wantagh. NY State often goes after Florida residents that keep their NY home with similar reasoning, and they usually win.
Vacationing a lot when you are retired does not necessarily change your primary residence.
Donald W. Rifkin, CPA, CFP, PC
1 University Plaza, Suite 108
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Alfonso J. Mollica CPA, P.C.
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That could be a very expensive hunting license and very expensive mail to go with it.