By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys
A move brings with it a sense of expectation, excitement, and maybe a little trepidation. Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, there are countless plans to be made and there’s a lot of work to be done. Although your Will or Trust might be the last thing on your mind at this busy moment in your life, a move is actually an ideal time to review and update your estate plan. Here are the things you should take a look at:
Will and Trust
You should review your Will and/or your Trust every few years or whenever your family experiences a major life change. A move represents an excellent time to pull out these foundational estate planning documents and make sure that your wishes have not changed since the last time you looked at them.
If your move involves the purchase of a new home, make sure that it is funded into your Trust. If you are moving to a new state, you’ll want to have an experienced estate planning attorney in that state take a look at your Will and Trust. While a Will or Trust that was valid in your home state generally will be recognized as valid in your new state, each state has its own unique laws. You might need to adjust your estate plan to ensure that it continues to meet your family’s needs.
In addition, tax laws can vary widely from state to state. For instance, some states have income taxes while other states do not. A handful of states collect an estate or inheritance tax independent of the federal estate tax. Checking with an estate planning attorney can help you revise your plan to take full advantage of any differences in tax laws between your old state and your new state, so that you can maximize the financial benefit to you and your family.
Financial Powers of Attorney
Legally, as long as your Financial Power of Attorney was valid in your old state, it should be recognized as valid in your new state. As a practical matter, however, financial institutions in your new state might be reluctant to accept a document they’re unfamiliar with. If you want your Power of Attorney to be accepted without complications, it is recommended that you check with a local estate planning attorney.
Health Care Powers of Attorney
Each state has its own requirements when it comes to Health Care Powers of Attorney, and the requirements can vary quite widely. You’ll want to have your Health Care Power of Attorney reviewed by a local estate planning attorney, and be prepared to sign a new document that complies with the law in your new state.
After the boxes are unpacked and you are settled into your new home, schedule a meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney. He or she can help you determine what, if any, modifications should be made to your estate plan in light of your new circumstances and the laws of your new state.