When you move to a new state you need to update a lot of your personal documents such as your driver’s license and voter registration card, but don’t forget about your estate plan. While your will or trust may still be valid in the new state, there could be differences in the new state’s law. These differences in the laws can make certain provisions of the document invalid or conversely, there could be aspects of the law in the new state that may be advantageous to add to your estate plan. Below is a review of the important estate planning documents you should have and how moving to a new state may impact it.
- Last Will and Testament. Your will is a legal document detailing your wishes regarding assets after your death. Your will also states which person you want to manage the distribution of your estate. If you have a will prepared outside of Maryland and then move into Maryland, it is valid if it was executed in accordance with the laws of the state in which it was prepared.
- Revocable Living Trust. The rules surrounding your revocable living trust aren’t the same as a will and it should be valid in any state, no matter where it was signed. However, your trust likely makes references to laws in your previous home state so it can create complications or confusion when you die in the new state. Additionally, if you acquire real estate in your new state, you will want to make sure it is held in the trust. Consulting with an estate planning attorney is a good idea to review the language of your trust and how your assets are titled.
- Property Power of Attorney. A property power of attorney is a document that gives someone legal authority to act for another person’s property and financial assets. It allows you to assign a person to manage your affairs if you are unable to do so. Many states have their own version of a property power of attorney so it is important to have this document reviewed by an estate planning attorney in your new state. For example, the Maryland General and Limited Power of Attorney Act created a specific kind of power of attorney in 2010. This Power of Attorney Act provides two statutory forms that make it easier for people to grant powers to others. Additionally, the Act states that if a person refuses to honor a statutory power of attorney, that person may be held liable for the attorney’s fees incurred to get a court order that require them to abide by the power of attorney.
- Heath Care Power of Attorney. A health care power of attorney allows you to name an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. Maryland has its own version but other forms and versions may be used and are just as legally valid. However, it is important to keep these documents updated as the years go by. We recommend updating your power of attorney documents every five years to make sure the people you’ve named to step in on your behalf are still who you would want to act today.
If you’ve recently moved to Maryland or you want to get started on creating your estate plan, please reach out to Sinclair Prosser Gasior to schedule an appointment.