When you move, there are so many items to update and change, and your estate plan should be one of them. Failing to make the necessary changes when you change cities, states, or countries can have serious effects on disposition of your estate and how your affairs are handled in emergencies.
How Can a Move to a New City Affect Your Estate Plan?
While moving to a new city in the same state may seem like it would not affect your estate plan, you would be surprised. If you have selected a friend or relative as your agent for a power of attorney or a temporary guardian for your children, that person may no longer live nearby. Addresses listed in parts of your estate plan such as a will or trust may be out of date. Finally, you may even want to change attorneys if you prefer meeting in person and are now too far away to do so.
How Can an Interstate Move Affect Your Estate Plan?
Moving to a new state can affect many aspects of your estate plan because the applicable state law will change. Estate planning devices such as wills and powers of attorney are interpreted using state law, not federal law (in most cases). Your new state may have very different requirements to make a valid power of attorney. Or you may need to re-sign your will because the new state has different witness and notarization requirements.
You can specify in some estate planning documents that they should be interpreted under the laws of a specific state. For example, your trust could have a paragraph stating that California law will govern the trust document. Usually, though, it is a good idea to have a local estate planning attorney review all documents in your estate plan after you move.
How Can an International Move Affect Your Estate Plan?
Similar to an interstate move, an international move may result in some of your estate planning documents being invalid under local law. Some countries have markedly different laws than the United States regarding wills, powers of attorney, and trusts. You cannot expect that your estate plan will still be effective in the new country. To figure out how to change your plan, talk to both an attorney in the new country and in the old country. They can advise you on whether you need to update documents and how taxes could be different due to your move.
Planning your estate? Look to Janet Brewer, Esq. for thorough and thoughtful estate planning advice. Janet’s more than 20 years of legal experience will give you confidence and peace of mind. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206.