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Moved out of state? Check your estate plan

There’s a lot to do when you move to a new state. In midst of the hustle, certain matters can be overlooked, including important things such as estate planning documents.

Property laws vary from state to state, so it’s a good idea to revisit these documents if you’ve moved. Have your will, trust, power of attorney and advance directive reviewed by an advisor familiar with the laws of your new home.

You’ve already put a lot of hard work into those documents. You’ve done the heavy lifting of deciding your wishes and how they should be executed. As a result, updating them for your new state won’t take a lot of effort.

Here are a few key things that an out-of-state move may affect:

  • Executors: In some states, the court can reject an executor solely based on residency. Others impose additional restrictions on out-of-state executors. For practical reasons, it’s a good idea to name an executor who lives nearby. Check with an advisor about the rules in your state.
  • Wills: Moving between a community property state and a common law state can impact what you and your spouse own. In community property states, spouses own equal halves of anything acquired during the marriage. In common law states, each spouse owns whatever is in his or her name. The shift can affect asset distribution, so revisit your wills.
  • Powers of attorney: In some states, you can identify advance directives and name your power of attorney on one form. Others require separate documents, and language varies by state.
  • Advance directives: Medical providers may be reluctant to honor an out-of-state document, and your family will have an easier time if yours is local.

Of course, you need to make sure your financial institutions, insurance companies and other account custodians have current contact information for you and your beneficiaries. If your estate planning documents are more than a few years old, it’s a good idea to review them even if you’re staying put.

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