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Blog: I Just Moved To Siouxland: Do I Need To Review My Estate Plan?

February 3, 2015

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When you move to a new state, it is a good time to review your estate planning documents with an attorney who practices in that state.  If your estate plan is more than a few years old, or if you have had any major life changes, you should contact a local attorney to update the documents or prepare new ones.  Even if you have recently prepared estate planning documents in another state, you should contact a local attorney to review the documents in light of the laws of your new state.

Wills

Generally, a last will and testament that is valid in the state it was executed is valid in your new state of residence.  However, you should contact a local attorney to make sure that all of the new state’s requirements are met.

One reason you may want to revisit your will upon moving to a new state is to name a local executor.  States differ on the requirements for qualified executors.  Although Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota allow out-of-state executors, there are many reasons you may want to name a new in-state executor.

Another reason you may want to revisit your will is if you previously lived in a community property state.  Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota are common law states, and the laws differ significantly between community property and common law states.  Some of the community property states are Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Each state has the right to impose its own death taxes.  South Dakota has none, Iowa has a limited application, and Nebraska has a broader tax.  Planning can help reduce these taxes.

Trusts

Determining which state’s law will apply to the trust is a complicated process.  This is called “situs,” and the situs of your trust may change when you move to a new state.  As with wills, if you have a revocable living trust that is valid in the state where it was executed, it should continue to be valid in your new state.  However, you need to have an attorney review the trust to determine whether any updates are needed.

Another reason you may want to consult a lawyer in your new state is to ensure that any real estate in the new state is properly purchased by or transferred into your revocable trust.

Powers of Attorney

A durable financial power of attorney should continue to be valid when you move to a new state.  However, it is a good idea to take this document to an attorney for review when other documents are reviewed, especially if it is more than a few years old.

Medical or healthcare powers of attorney should be reviewed by an attorney in your new state.  State laws vary on the requirements for medical powers of attorney and whether out-of-state documents must be accepted by healthcare providers.

As part of your move-in checklist, make sure to include your estate plan review!

This blog post is authored by Jacob Natwick and meant for informational purposes only.  It is not meant to provide legal advice in any particular circumstance or factual situation.  You should consult with an attorney prior to taking any action regarding the information contained herein.  

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