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Updating My Estate Plans When I Move

We live in a mobile society. According to the American Community Survey, over 40 million Americans move annually. While moving itself requires many changes and can be extremely stressful, many individuals don’t recognize the need to update their estate plan documents after an out-of-state move until it becomes a problem.

Every state has unique laws when it comes to estate planning. Consequently, if you have moved to the state of California from another state or are planning to move out of state, you will need to revisit your estate plan to make sure it conforms to the state you are moving to.

There can be significant legal challenges if documents are not updated to comply with your new state laws. While some documents may not require extensive changes, it is important to ensure that the documents in your estate plan comply with the laws of your new state or reconsider individuals you have named to serve as an executor, powers of attorney, or a guardian of your children.

Tax Consequences

Estate plans are developed based on the state laws where you live, or your domicile. When you move to a different state, your new state of residence will determine many of the tax-related issues that can affect your estate.

A move to California could have serious tax consequences for your estate if it was developed around your former state’s tax laws. It is critical to consult with an estate planning attorney in California to understand how your estate may be financially impacted by these laws.

Division of Marital Property in California

The state of California is only one of nine states that is a community property state.

Community property dictates that all assets acquired by a couple during their marriage are jointly owned, even if only one spouse is named on documents. This will affect how property is distributed to heirs and can become complicated when spouses have children from former marriages. An experienced California estate planning attorney can help you understand how to hold assets if you want to exclude them from joint ownership.

Other Potential Problems With Out-of-State Estate Plans

If you have moved to the state of California, a will created in another state, while valid in that state, must now meet our probate codes. Administering your estate can be difficult if your executor lives in another state. Your executor must inventory assets, resolve debt, and file paperwork in the state of California in the administration of your estate. Consequently, it may be better to designate an in-state executor and make alterations to the documents to ensure greater ease of administration.

You may also reconsider individuals you have named as healthcare and financial powers of attorney or a guardian for your children if these individuals now live far away.

Governing Law for Trusts

State laws governing trusts also vary from state to state and must be followed in the interpretation of the trust. If you have developed a trust in another state, you should revisit it depending on where the assets in the trust are now located.

Getting Skilled Estate Planning Advice in Orange County

If you have recently moved, it is a good idea to make an appointment with an experienced estate planning attorney in your new state to understand how your estate plan may be impacted. Bring copies of all estate planning documents so your attorney can review them and discuss possible changes that may need to be made depending on your situation.