If you’re like most people who have recently moved, you’re thinking about all the things you need to change and update. There are new bank accounts, new grocery store memberships, and, yes, new estate planning documents.
If you’ve moved intra-state, meaning that you moved within the same state where your current estate planning documents were executed, it is prudent to update your estate plan if your current plan is more than three to five years old. This is also an excellent time to establish a relationship with a local estate planning attorney and update if there have been other significant changes in your life such as purchasing a new home, divorce, marriage, new children or step-children, adoption, or a major change in your finances or estate planning goals.
If you’ve moved inter-state, meaning that you moved to a brand new state — one other than the state where your current estate planning documents were executed — meet with an estate planning attorney in your new state to determine whether changes need to be made and to establish a relationship.
While your estate plan may still be legal in your new state, it can sometimes be confusing, expensive, and time consuming to administer an estate or trust in your new state when it’s drafted to meet the requirements of your previous state. For instance, if your will or trust needs to be administered under the laws of your previous state, your executor/trustee will likely have to hire a lawyer in two states: the state where you died and the state where your documents were executed.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney in particular vary greatly from state to state. Powers of attorney for finances and powers of attorney for health care may still be valid but may not be honored because the state-specific required language is not present and the financial institutions and medical professionals are worried that the power of attorney is not valid or has been revoked.
After a move, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney in your new state to determine whether your estate planning documents should be updated. You’ll sleep well at night knowing that your estate planning documents will work the way you want them to even after a move.