What Happens to Your Will When You Move? | Montana Elder Law
Young Adults Need Estate Planning, Too
January 12, 2022
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What Happens to Your Will When You Move?

A properly drafted will that you have executed under the laws of one state will generally be valid under the laws of any other state. Realistically, however, it often becomes problematic when wills cross state lines. Estate planning documents must be updated periodically to account for changes in your life circumstances as well as changes in the law. It is therefore good practice to update all of your estate planning documents after an out-of-state move.

The laws that govern estate planning documents such as wills, trusts, medical directives, and powers of attorney are different in every state. A provision is often included in an estate planning document that indicates which state’s laws shall govern the document. Although the document may function outside of that governing state, extra steps may be necessary to enforce the terms of the document such as locating witnesses and obtaining affidavits. In extreme cases, a document drafted in one state will not be enforced in another state due to major differences in the states’ laws.

In addition, state and federal laws that govern wills, trusts, advance directives, and powers of attorney are constantly changing. Your documents could become useless shortly after their execution because of new laws. Periodically updating your estate plan, especially after a move to a different state, will keep your estate planning documents from becoming obsolete.

If you have moved to a new state, it would be best to review your estate plan with an estate planning attorney within that state. Remember to review your estate plan after other significant life events, too.