Livens & Reed, PLLC

After moving, one should review estate planning documents

When moving from one state to another, it’s wise to have estate planning documents checked for compliance with the new state’s laws. Although most of those estate planning documents should remain effective in a move, it’s nonetheless prudent to have everything reviewed in the context of the procedures and laws in the new state. The old saying, “When in Rome do as the Romans do,” may actually make some sense in this situation. Therefore, if the move is to Texas, it’s recommended to find out how it’s done here.

For example, the format and legal references in many documents, such as a living will, are usually written and phrased according to each state’s preferences and laws. Although this will probably not affect the legality of one’s living will from another state, it may cause confusion and result in a waste of time at some inauspicious future time. Furthermore, there are different legal requirements from state to state for such documents.

For example, witnesses to a living will may be required in one state and not in another. Again, with such twists, it’s more prudent to conform your documents to the new state’s protocol. The same state-to-state phenomenon may apply to one’s last will and testament.

Each state has its own laundry list of things that must be done to make the document legal. That doesn’t mean that a will from another state won’t be honored. Nonetheless, it makes little sense to not have one’s estate planning documents brought into compliance with the new home jurisdiction.

There are other things to watch out for as well. Thus, if a couple moves from a non-community property state to a community property state like Texas, there are nuances of law with respect to estate planning that only an experienced practitioner in the new state will be able to appreciate and correct. If one’s move coincides with the three-to-five-year period for periodic review of all documents, it will be a doubly opportune time to engage in the review process.

Source: The Spectrum, "Moving may affect estate planning", Scott Halvorsen, July 28, 2014

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