Moving Out of State: Put Your Estate Plan on Your Packing List

Estate Planning

The couch is too big for your new living room and that table lamp just doesn’t go with the decor. It’s not uncommon to find that the things we bring with us in a move no longer work in our new home.

Unfortunately, the same can be true for estate planning documents when you move to a different state. Laws concerning the preparation of estate planning documents as well as tax and trust laws may be different in your new state. Take your estate plan with you — but be sure to unpack it soon with a local, experienced estate law attorney.

Estate Planning Laws and Requirements Vary by State

From required forms to the language used on those forms, differences between states can have an impact on  you or your heirs and beneficiaries. Below are some of the most common estate planning documents that will likely need to be updated after you move out of state, and why:

  • Will: Most states recognize a Last Will and Testament executed in another state but there may be different rules regarding who can serve as executor for your estate. For example, Florida requires that an estate executor be related to the deceased or be a Florida resident. Other states may impose additional requirements for executors. In addition, marital property rules or how assets are titled, whether jointly, individually or by a trust, may have benefits or drawbacks depending on the state’s laws regarding asset distribution after death.
  • Medical Powers of Attorney/Advance Healthcare Directive: Some states have specific forms and laws related to advanced healthcare directives (sometimes called living wills). Other states have no laws about advance healthcare directives but may still honor them. Either way, it’s best to update your medical care preferences in your new state to ensure your family and physicians can quickly implement care per your wishes. Also, consider the location of the person you previously appointed to serve as your representative, as it may be impractical to rely on a person who lives far away in an emergency.
  • Trust Planning: Differing state laws related to Medicaid, special needs planning and tax laws can impact any decisions you make related to trust planning that may not apply in the state where you now reside.

To ensure your estate plan reflects your wishes and causes minimum stress to your representatives and beneficiaries, add visiting with a local estate planning attorney to your moving checklist.

The estate law attorneys at Timothy Rice Estate & Elder Law assist New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents with all their estate planning needs. Moving away? Let us help you find a trusted legal advisor in your new state. Call us at 833-888-0462.

power of attorney, trusts, Wills

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