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Moving to a new state? Consider getting an estate plan review

by Legacy Plan
August 16, 2016

Today, people move from one state to another with some frequency. Moving to a new state does not mean that the will and living trust you created in your old home state are now invalid and useless. Your move does mean that an estate plan review is potentially beneficial to you, as the differences in the laws of each state may lead you to desire a change to your plan, and it likely will mean that you'll want to replace some of your documents, such as advance directives or healthcare powers of attorney.

In today's modern, mobile society, moving from one state to another is an increasingly common thing. Whether it's a job, family or a retirement destination, people move across the country for many reasons. This may seem like a problem in terms of your estate plan. If you're like many people, you've invested a lot in getting your plan in place. Moving to a new state does NOT, however, mean that all your documents immediately become invalid. It does, though, mean that getting an estate plan review is a good idea.

Generally speaking, your will remains valid even if you move from one state to a new state. Many states have laws that explicitly state that out-of-state wills are recognized and enforceable in their states. Even though the document is still valid, an estate plan review can help you. Depending on where you moved from, and moved to, you may want to make changes to your plan.

Perhaps you live in Ohio but decide to retire to a new home in Arizona. That means that you are moving from a state that does not follow community property rules to one that does. (“Community property” means that most things you acquire during your marriage are owned jointly by the two of you as a married couple; as opposed to non-community property where each spouse typically individually owns whatever is acquired in his/her own name.) This move from a non-community property state to a community property state may cause you to re-think some of the provisions in your will and perhaps alter your will's terms.

Another thing to keep in mind is your personal representative. Some states allow non-residents to serve as personal representatives, others allow it but only subject to certain conditions or restrictions and some states forbid it completely. Florida law, as an example, requires that your personal representative must be related to you by blood or marriage, or else must be a resident of Florida. A move to Florida may mean that you'll need to modify your will to name a new personal representative.

Your living trust is generally not affected by the sort of statutory rules that impact your will, so moving from one state to another is less likely to trigger a need for a change to your trust. A review is still a good idea, though, as it can help you make sure everything is up-to-date and that your trust is optimized to serve you in your new state.

Your advance directives and your healthcare power of attorney are different. Each state has its own rules and its own format for how these documents should be worded. Even though some states have laws that expressly allow for the enforcement of out-of-state documents, the best way minimize potential objections from healthcare providers is to create a new document in your state.

How do I create an estate plan?

There are numerous options and scenarios to consider when developing an estate plan that protects your legacy and achieves your objectives, and important decisions should be made with the advice of qualified lawyers and financial experts. Membership with Legacy Assurance Plan provides members with valuable resources and guidance to develop comprehensive estate plans that take life's contingencies into consideration and leave a positive impact for generations to come. Legacy Assurance Plan members also receive peace of mind that a team of trusted, experienced professionals will assist them in developing legal, financial and tax strategies that will meet their needs today and for years to come through periodic reviews.

This article is published by Legacy Assurance Plan and is intended for general informational purposes only. Some information may not apply to your situation. It does not, nor is it intended, to constitute legal advice. You should consult with an attorney regarding any specific questions about probate, living probate or other estate planning matters. Legacy Assurance Plan is an estate planning services company and is not a lawyer or law firm and is not engaged in the practice of law. For more information about this and other estate planning matters visit our website at

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