By: Rocky Mountain Wills & Trusts

Issues with estate planning when moving to a new state

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There are so many things to keep in mind when moving out of state. Did we give ourselves enough time to pack? Did we inform all the right people and places? When do I need to get a new driver’s license? Will we need new health insurance? Will the kids like the new school? Oh, I guess we’ll need new voter registration cards, too.

This (admittedly still incomplete) list is full of important things to remember for those relocating to a new state. But don’t forget about your wills and trusts.

It probably took a long time and maybe a fair bit of money to set up your estate plan. And it can be tempting to think that our estate plans will remain viable from the date they’re filed until the day we pass on. However, if we move out of state, we need to be aware that different state laws may change things.

How Might Interpretations of an Estate Plan Differ from State to State?

While the majority of your estate plans should still be well and good in a new state, it is important to understand that different state laws could result in differing interpretations of your will and trusts. Property laws can vary with each state. And some states have common law marriage, which could be affected by a move to a state that does not. Some states have different laws regarding health care directives and powers of attorney.

Colorado is a separate-property state, meaning that property and assets acquired during a marriage are still viewed, legally, as separate property for each spouse. However, some other states are community-property states, wherein property and assets obtained during the marriage are viewed as equally shared between the spouses.

What Estate Planning Documents May Need to Be Reviewed and Revised After Moving?

While most of your estate plans may still be legal in a new state, it would still be advisable to evaluate your estate plans with an attorney familiar with your new state’s laws.

Documents that may need to be updated include wills, living trusts, living wills, advance medical directives, power of attorney, beneficiary designations, and the executor of your estate.

What Are Other Considerations to Be Made in Regard to Estate Plans and Relocating?

Some states have different laws in regard to how a divorce may impact an estate plan. For example, one state’s laws may automatically revoke an ex-spouse’s claims to assets previously laid out in a will written while the two were married. However, a neighboring state may maintain that all language in the will be followed to the letter, regardless of a divorce.

Additionally, while it may not be necessary to change your will’s executor, if they are now living in a different state, it may be best to select someone new who is more readily available. Contact our law firm today at (720) 420-1039 to learn more about how we can help you with your situation.