Book a consultation
email us icon QUESTIONS?
Send us a message
call us icon CALL US TOLL-FREE:
hand points towards a globe with travel plans marked out

Moving to a new state and its impact on your estate plan

by Legacy Plan
updated December 29, 2023

When it comes to estate planning, it is crucial to understand the state-specific laws that govern the process. Estate planning involves making important decisions about the distribution of your assets and the management of your affairs after you pass away or become incapacitated. However, each state has its own unique set of laws and regulations regarding estate planning, which can significantly impact how you structure your plan.

Some of the first tasks to consider when moving to a new state are any updates or amendments that may need to be made to your existing estate plan. State laws governing wills, trusts, powers of attorney and health care directives can vary widely, and what may have been valid in one state might not hold true in another.

Therefore, it is essential to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you through the specific legal implications in your new state.

Each state has its own rules concerning property ownership and transfers upon death. Some states follow community property laws while others adhere to common law principles.

These differences can affect how real estate and other assets are titled and distributed upon your passing. Understanding these variations is critical for ensuring that your wishes regarding asset protection and distribution are upheld.

By carefully considering the legal implications related to wills, trusts, powers of attorney and health care directives, you can protect your assets, ensure proper distribution and appoint suitable surrogate decision-makers when moving to another state. Collaborating with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you navigate the intricacies of state laws and avoid potential legal pitfalls.

Revising your will and trusts

When relocating to a new state, one of the primary considerations in revising your estate plan is making amendments to your last will and testament and trusts. As mentioned, state laws governing estate planning, including wills and trusts, can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another.

Regarding wills, each state has its own set of rules regarding execution requirements, revocation procedures and interpretation of testamentary intent. Therefore, when moving to a new state, it is advisable to review your existing will with an attorney admitted in the new jurisdiction.

Depending on the differences between the old and new states' laws, you may need to make substantial revisions or even create an entirely new will that aligns with the legal framework of your new home. Similarly, if you have established a trust as part of your estate plan, it is crucial to assess how they may be affected by your move.

Different states have varying regulations concerning trust administration and taxation. Again, an experienced attorney can help ensure that your trust documents comply with all applicable state variations and that any potential tax implications are considered. They can also assist in transferring assets into a new trust if required by state law or if it aligns better with your current goals for asset protection or estate tax planning. Moreover, when revising your will and trusts during a relocation process, it is essential not only to address legal implications but also practical considerations such as real estate holdings.

If you own property in both your old and new states, it may be necessary to update how those properties are addressed within your estate plan. Additionally, some states have specific inheritance tax laws that may impact how you distribute assets through trusts or other testamentary instruments.

Powers of attorney and health care directives

healthcare power of attorney advance directive document

Powers of attorney and health care directives play a crucial role in ensuring your wishes are honored. These legal documents grant authority to trusted individuals to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. However, when relocating to a new state, it is essential to understand the state-specific variations in laws governing powers of attorney and health care directives.

Each state has its own set of regulations regarding these documents, which can significantly impact their enforceability and effectiveness. It is advisable to review and update your powers of attorney and health care directives upon moving to ensure compliance with the laws of your new state and that your designated agents have the necessary authority. One key aspect to consider when updating your documents is whether they include the appropriate language recognizing the validity of out-of-state powers of attorney or health care directives.

Some states require specific language acknowledging their acceptance or an explicit reference to their laws for recognition. By consulting with an estate planning attorney familiar with local laws, you can determine if amendments are needed to meet these requirements.

Another critical consideration is identifying suitable surrogate decision-makers in your new location. Relocating may necessitate appointing new agents who reside nearby for easier accessibility during emergencies or health crises. This decision should be made thoughtfully, considering factors such as reliability, trustworthiness and their ability to make decisions aligned with your values and preferences.

Ensuring compliance with local regulations enhances the enforceability of these documents while also providing peace of mind that your designated agents will have full legal authority when needed most.

Appointing new surrogate decision-makers

One of the key surrogate decision-makers to appoint is a health care proxy. This person will have the authority to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. It is important to choose someone who understands your values and preferences regarding medical treatment, as they will be responsible for advocating for your health care needs. When relocating, it is essential to update this designation under the laws of your new state.

In addition to a health care proxy, it’s also important to appoint a financial power of attorney (PoA). This individual will have the authority to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated.

They can handle tasks such as paying bills, managing investments or selling real estate on your behalf. When moving to another state, it is important to review and update this designation based on any variations in state laws or requirements regarding POAs.

Another aspect worth considering when appointing surrogate decision-makers is choosing alternative agents or executors in case your primary choices are unable or unwilling to fulfill their duties. Life circumstances can change over time, so having backup individuals who can step into these roles ensures continuity and proper execution of your estate plan.

Appointing new surrogate decision-makers when relocating states ensures that there are suitable individuals ready and able to act on your behalf should the need arise. By carefully selecting trusted individuals who understand and respect your wishes, you can have peace of mind knowing that important decisions regarding both medical care and financial matters will be made by someone who has your best interests at heart.

Tax considerations and implications

Booklet opening animation of our free requestable booklet 'What is Estate Planning'

Each state has its own set of tax laws and regulations that can significantly impact your estate planning strategies. Some states impose an inheritance tax on beneficiaries who receive assets from an estate, while others have an estate tax levied on the overall value of the estate itself. Familiarizing yourself with these state variations will help you make informed decisions about your estate plan.

Additionally, it is important to assess how your move may affect any property laws or asset protection mechanisms you have in place. Real estate holdings can be subject to different regulations depending on the state, which may affect their valuation as well as potential taxation upon transfer or sale.

Furthermore, certain states have specific rules regarding trusts and their treatment for tax purposes. Understanding these nuances is essential for ensuring that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes.

Property and asset considerations

When relocating to a new state, it is crucial to consider the impact on your property and assets in relation to your estate plan. Various aspects come into play, including property laws and state variations in estate planning regulations.

Understanding these considerations will enable you to make informed decisions and ensure the seamless transition of your assets when updating your estate plan after moving. One of the primary concerns when it comes to property and asset considerations is ensuring proper title transfer.

Real estate holdings are subject to specific legal implications, with each state having its own set of rules governing ownership transfers. Also, asset protection should be a key priority when reviewing and updating your estate plan after relocating.

Different states have varying laws regarding creditor protection and exemptions for certain types of assets. It is wise to assess whether transferring assets into trusts or other protective structures would be beneficial in safeguarding them from potential claims or liabilities.

Indeed, revisiting those designated as agents, executors or trustees in your estate plan becomes necessary when moving to a new state. State laws may impose certain restrictions on who can serve in these roles based on residency requirements or other qualifications unique to that jurisdiction.

Therefore, it is crucial to review these appointments and make any necessary updates accordingly. Ensuring that surrogate decision-makers are aligned with both your current wishes and the legal requirements of the new state will provide peace of mind knowing that your affairs will be handled appropriately if incapacitated or upon passing.

Checklist for estate plan update

minature house on desk with stacks of coins estate plan with ticked checkboxes

When you relocate to a new state, it is crucial to review and update your estate plan to ensure that it aligns with the legal requirements and regulations of your new jurisdiction. To help you navigate this process smoothly, we have compiled a checklist for updating your estate plan after a state relocation.

  1. Review your will and trusts: Start by reviewing your will and trusts in light of the new state's laws. State laws vary significantly when it comes to testamentary documents, so it is imperative to verify if your existing will still complies with the legal requirements of your new state.

  2. Assess powers of attorney and health care directives. The next step is to evaluate your powers of attorney and health care directives. Check if there are any differences in how these documents are handled in your new state, such as specific language requirements or additional forms that need to be completed. Make sure that these important documents accurately reflect your current wishes and designate individuals whom you trust to act as surrogate decision-makers.

  3. Consider tax implications. Tax planning plays a significant role in estate planning, and moving to a different state may have implications for both inheritance tax (if applicable) and estate tax. Research the tax laws in your new state regarding these matters, as they can greatly impact how you structure assets within trusts or make gifting arrangements during life or at death.

  4. Evaluate property laws. Another critical aspect when updating an estate plan after relocating is understanding property laws governing real estate holdings within the new jurisdiction. Different states have varying rules regarding property ownership, community property and homestead exemptions.

  5. Update executor designations. It is essential to review and update your executor designations when you move to a new state. The person you initially appointed as executor may not be eligible or willing to serve in the new jurisdiction due to residency requirements or other legal implications. Consider naming an alternate executor who resides in the same state as you do now, ensuring that there are no obstacles when it comes time for them to fulfill their duties.

By thoroughly reviewing these aspects of your estate plan and consulting with professionals where necessary, you can ensure that your estate plan remains valid and aligned with the legal requirements of your new state. It is crucial not to overlook these updates as failure to do so could result in unintended consequences or complications down the road.

Take action promptly after relocating and consult qualified experts who can guide you through this process seamlessly, providing peace of mind for both yourself and your loved ones.


Navigating estate plan changes when moving to a new state can be a complex and overwhelming process. State variations in property laws, inheritance tax, trusts and estate planning necessitate careful consideration and updates to ensure your wishes are properly executed.

Revising your wills and trusts is of paramount importance as the laws governing these documents may differ significantly from one state to another. It is crucial to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you through the process and help you make the necessary amendments.

Additionally, powers of attorney and health care directives should be reviewed and updated when relocating to a new state. Appointing new surrogate decision-makers who reside in your new state ensures that they have jurisdiction over important medical or financial decisions should the need arise.

Tax considerations also play a significant role in estate planning, thus engaging in thorough tax planning is essential to ensure compliance with both federal and state laws. Furthermore, it is crucial to evaluate property and asset considerations when relocating.

Real estate holdings may be subject to different rules depending on the jurisdiction, making it important to understand any implications for asset protection and taxation purposes. By creating an updated checklist for your estate plan update, you can ensure nothing is overlooked during this critical process.

While moving to a different state brings about excitement and change in various aspects of life, it also warrants careful attention to updating your estate plan accordingly. By understanding state-specific laws, revising wills and trusts, appointing new surrogate decision-makers if necessary, considering tax implications, evaluating property assets diligently, following a comprehensive checklist for updates while working alongside an experienced attorney; individuals can successfully navigate these changes with confidence ensuring their wishes will be upheld no matter where they call home.

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

Phone - 844.445.3422
Email -
25 common estate planning mistakes booklet

Don't make estate planning mistakes. Avoid common mistakes with our free guide,
"25 Common Estate Planning Mistakes"

Legacy Assurance Plan Shield Logo
Subscribe to Our Monthly Newsletter!

We won't share your email, and we make it easy to unsubscribe!