26 Apr 2016

I’ve moved to a new state…should I review my estate plan?

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Yes! If you’ve moved to a new state and are all settled in, there are some financial aspects of your move you need to take care of. Moving is a good excuse to consult an attorney to make sure your estate plan in general is up to date.

Will, trusts, powers of attorney and health care directives remain valid even if they were signed in a different state, however, certain provisions might conflict with the laws of your new state.

Taxes
If your new state imposes income, inheritance or estate taxes (while your previous state didn’t) or vice versa, you should review the implications with your attorney and see how you could minimize your tax exposure.

Wills
In the case of a Will, if you are married and move from a community property state to a common law state or vice versa, the rules about what you and your spouse own will likely change. In addition, the rules about executors of your Will may change from state to state. Generally, a Will that is valid in the state where you resided, it will probably be valid in your new state.

Living Trust
Generally, living trusts should be valid in any state. However, it is a good idea to use an estate review to also review the terms of a living trust. This is particularly true for a community property state, like Arizona, because there can be a capital gains tax advantage commonly known as a “double step in basis.”

Advance Medial Directive/Powers of Attorney
Every state has its own forms for advance directive (living wills) and powers of attorney, so have your attorney make sure you are in compliance. Without getting these up to date, a healthcare provider might balk at accepting out-of-state documents just when you really need to use them most.

Beneficiaries
Beneficiaries you’ve named on insurance policies, bank accounts, IRAs, retirement plans or other assets should be valid wherever you live. However, it is a good idea to make sure the institution that controls the assets has your current contact information.

Guardianship
Another thing that should be taken care of are any guardianship papers. You’ll need to file new paperwork with the local probate court, and since each state has different laws pertaining to guardianship, finding an experienced attorney will make the process easier.

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