Moving Out of State? Time to Review Your Estate Plan

May 18, 2023

Are you considering a big move to a new state? Whether for work, family reasons, or just a change of scenery, relocating can be an exciting adventure. However, it is important to remember that moving out of state may bring unexpected changes to your estate plan.

From updating your will to reviewing your power of attorney and health care directives, you should take several steps before packing up the truck and hitting the road.

Are Wills Valid From State to State?

If you have a will in one state that outlines how you would like your assets to be distributed after your death, that will might not be valid in another state.

This also applies to trust documents and other aspects of estate planning, such as naming an executor for your will, identifying who has power of attorney for medical and financial decisions, and whether or not marital property rules apply. Therefore you should review your will to ensure all assets are accounted for and allocated according to the new state's laws.

Marital Property Rules

When you move out of state, it is important to investigate the laws governing marital property, as they can vary significantly from state to state. In community property states, the law assumes that all assets acquired during the marriage are owned equally.

Whatever is earned or acquired after the wedding date will be divided between them upon divorce or death. On the other hand, in common law states, each spouse owns their assets and liabilities separately unless there is an agreement specifying otherwise. Although Indiana is not a community property state, the law requires courts to determine a just and reasonable distribution of property upon divorce or death.

The Executor of the Will

When you move out of state, you must review your existing plan to ensure the will's executor is still valid. The executor must reside in the state where you own property. If you have relocated, you should find someone in your new state who can serve as an executor. If you choose a non-resident executor, they may need to post a bond to act on behalf of the estate.

Remember to research laws regarding executors in your new state, as they may differ from where you used to live. An Indiana estate planning attorney can help guide you through this process and answer your questions.

Power of Attorney

Power of attorney allows you to assign someone the authority to handle your financial and legal matters if you are incapacitated. The person you assign must be trustworthy, as they will have much power over your finances and assets.

Each state has its rules for the power of attorney documents, so consult an estate planning attorney and update your paperwork if it needs changing. If you move out of state and fail to revise this document, it may not be valid in your new state.

Consider using a durable power of attorney instead of springing or general power of attorney. A durable power of attorney lasts longer and stays in effect even if the person granting it becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. This could be especially helpful if you are moving away from family.

Is My Living Trust Valid in Another State?

Generally, a living trust is valid in any state. However, there are differences in how different states interpret and apply laws relating to living trusts, so you should still consider reviewing your trust to ensure it complies with the new state's laws.

For example, some states have specific requirements for who can serve as a trustee or who must be notified when transferring assets into a living trust. Ensuring your living trust meets these requirements will keep it legally valid.

Additionally, if you move out of state, your estate plan may need updating from a tax perspective. Different states also have separate estate tax thresholds and tax treatment for certain types of assets in an estate plan.

That is why reviewing all aspects of your estate plan with an attorney is always advisable before moving somewhere new. It would be best to ensure everything stays in order when settling into your new home.

How an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help

If you are planning on moving out of state, consulting with an estate planning attorney can help ensure you do not miss any important details. An attorney can review your existing estate plan and advise how best to update it to ensure your estate is protected and distributed according to your wishes when the time comes.

If you do not have an existing estate plan, they can help you create one tailored to suit your needs. Your attorney can walk you through setting up a will and trust, nominating a guardian for minor children, and setting up powers of attorney. They can also help you focus on more complex issues such as:

  • Marital property rules based on the laws of the new state
  • The necessary steps for changing the executor of the will
  • Updating beneficiary designations for important accounts or documents
  • Knowing which state's law will apply to matters not addressed in the will
  •  Ensuring that all deeds get transferred properly

Need Help Updating Your Estate Plan? Contact Applegate & Dillman Elder Law Today

Moving out of state and need help updating your estate plan? Applegate & Dillman Elder Law can help. Regardless of why you are relocating, reviewing and updating your estate plan to ensure it complies with your new state's laws is important.

Let our team guide you through the process and provide peace of mind for you and your beneficiaries. Contact us today for more information.

Continue Reading