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While experts might recommend that people create or update their will and other documents when major life changes occur, such as births, marriage and divorce, it is also a good idea to review estate plans when people move. The reason that estate planning documents should be updated when someone moves to another state is that most legal documents refer to specific state laws or are created with them in mind. One state may have a law that runs counter to what is law in another state, which can create problems when a will or other document is executed.

Additionally, taxation can have a large impact on the amount of assets that someone’s heirs receive, and it is important that wills and trusts are revised to take into account different state laws to maximize the property that people can pass on. Living wills and medical powers of attorney may also need to be updated when someone moves from one state to another. Living wills, which dictate someone’s preferences to how they want medical treatment to be handled if they are incapacitated, are created with a focus on state laws.

Medical powers of attorney also may be written with state laws in mind. While both living wills and powers of attorney may be able to be executed in a different state, it is best to have medical care outlined in a way that local doctors and hospitals are familiar with.

Ensuring that estate planning documents are accurate and comply with state and federal laws is essential and can prevent them from being invalidated. A probate and estate administration attorney could help individuals draft these documents as well as ensure that they are kept up-to-date.

Source: The Spectrum, “Moving may affect estate planning”, Scott Halvorsen, July 28, 2014