The general guidance among experienced and qualified estate planning attorneys is that you should review your estate plan every few years. However, if certain events such as a move occur, you need to review your estate plan at that time.
Move to a new state
When you move to a new state, it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney in your new locale. Laws vary from state to state so the legal documents of your estate plan should be reviewed.
Your estate planning documents may still be valid and you’ll be good to go. However, they may be valid but cause great inconvenience and expense when they need to be utilized. For example, if your will was written under the laws of state A, but you die in state B, your executor may have to hire two attorneys. Attorneys are licensed by state; so, your executor may need to hire an attorney in state A and in state B.
For married couples, review is even more important. A minority of states, including California, have enacted marital property legislation based on community property law. The majority of these states are on the West Coast. However, the majority of states, including all Eastern states follow what is generally called common law principals of marital property ownership. Especially when a married couple moves from a community property state to a common law state, or vice versa, they should consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney in
Another issue with using out of state documents is a practical one. While your estate planning documents may still be valid, they may not be honored by local medical professionals and financial institutions. This may happen with certain powers of attorney (for medical issues and finances.) It isn’t practical to sue a doctor or bank to force them to honor a power of attorney.
In addition, some documents such as same sex partner contracts are honored in some states but not in others.
Move within your current state
A move within your current state will not invalidate the documents of your estate plan. However, you are likely to have new assets, new goals, and, perhaps, even new family members. All of this calls for a review of your estate plan.
In addition, you may want to establish a relationship with a local experienced and qulified estate planning attorney so that your trusted helpers and family members can get to know him before crisis strikes.
If you have questions about updating your estate plan after a move, consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.
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