Do You Need to Update Your Will If You Move Interstate?

••• Ed Freeman/Stone/Getty Images

Most people who establish wills periodically adjust these documents, after they experience tent-pole life changes such as getting married, having kids or filing for divorce. But not everyone considers tweaking their wills after they relocate from one state to another. This is understandable. After all, most properly-drafted estate plans retain their validity across different states. But there are occasions when adjustments are called for, given that some states have unique laws pertaining to the creation and implementation of documents like wills, trusts, advance medical directives and powers of attorney.

In most cases, when you relocate to another state, your personal representative or estate executor does not relocate along with you. This is an important fact, because some states have laws on the books requiring your personal representatives to reside in the state in which your will is being probated. If your new state is one of them, the court will appoint another personal representative to handle your estate after you die, and this individual may not be someone you approve of. The takeaway: when you relocate, proactively name a new locally-based personal representative, before someone else make this decision for you.

Wills, Trusts, and Other Estate Planning Documents Have Expiration Dates

Many people falsely believe that their estate planning tasks are complete one they've signed and executed all of their estate-planning documents. However, state and federal laws that govern wills, trusts, and other estate-planning documents can change from one year to the next, which may eventually render your current estate plan obsolete. Furthermore, laws of your new state may effectively invalidate your old estate plan, altogether. The only remedy for this concern, is to vigilantly monitor legislative changes, under the guidance of a qualified legal professional.

NOTE: State and local laws change frequently, and the above information may not reflect the most recent changes. Please consult with an attorney for current legal advice. The information contained in this article is not legal advice, and is not a substitute for legal advice.