Moving Out of State? 3 Estate-Planning Consequences to Consider
By Brett Snider, Esq.
Moving to another state can be a stressful process. The last thing you want is to add the headache of estate law problems to your growing list of worries. But America is constantly moving. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that almost 36 million U.S. residents moved between 2012 and 2013.
Give yourself a moment, put down the boxes, and read about three estate consequences of an out-of-state move that you may not have considered:
1. State Rules about Out-of-State Executors
With your family and your old life back in your old state, it's pretty likely that your estate executors are out-of-state executors, which might be a problem.
Some states, like Ohio, require that out-of-state executors be related by blood or marriage to the estate holder, or at least reside in a state where non-relations can be named as executors. Your chosen executor may also need to travel to the state where you have died in order to administer your estate, so it may be necessary to keep travel ability in mind.
Other states, like New York, may also make it difficult for an out-of-state executor to take your property back to his or her home state. Before you move, you'll want to check the executor rules in both your current and future home states (or ask an estate planning attorney).
2. Moving Into (or Out of) a Community Property State
Some of the most populous states in the country are community property states, and whether you're moving into one or moving away from one, you need to consider the effect on your estate plan. A married couple who moves from Texas to New York may be unaware of how much the difference in inheritance and marital property laws will affect the final distribution of property.
This can be even further complicated if the married couple is same-sex and moving to a state which does not recognize the union as legal.
3. Different Rules About Living Wills/Advance Medical Directives
Living wills, also known as advance medical directives or advance health directives, are creatures of state law. Why risk having your wishes relating to life support hang on a technicality between state laws? For example, if you're a woman, you may wish to know if your new state will allow life support to be removed in the event you are pregnant.
An experienced estate planning attorney in either your old or new state should be able to clear up these and other estate consequences of moving to another state.