Whether you are new to California or are leaving the state to go somewhere else, you need to take some time to review your estate plan as part of the moving process. Moving to a new state means that there are new laws you may need to consider. This is especially important if you move from a community property state, such as California, to a non-community property state, or vice versa. Here are a few issues you’ll need to keep in mind when reviewing your estate plan as part of a move.
All states have laws that determine how much spouses are entitled to inherit from one another. In some states, if you leave your spouse less than this elective share amount, your spouse can choose to take the greater amount as outlined under state law. In California, a decedent spouse’s estate can only effectively dispose of only that spouse’s share of community property. This can leave less for other people to inherit and can complicate your estate plan and the estate settlement process.
Moving to a new state also complicates your estate plan in a very practical way, namely by placing a significant distance between you and your chosen representatives. For example, if you’ve created a trust and named a trustee or selected an executor in your will, those people may now be hundreds, or thousands, of miles away. This may make it more difficult for them to act on your behalf, and you may wish to consider selecting someone closer to your new location.
The best way to get competent advice about these issues is to consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.