In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson discusses what changes your estate plan needs when moving from one state to another.
Today I’m going to answer a question that we get not infrequently, especially around here where people are moving back and forth from one side of the river to the other, and that is:
Do you need to change your estate plan if you move from one state to another?
My best answer to that question is, kind of, and here’s what I mean by that.
First of all, if you have a living trust, living trusts are governed by the terms of the trust rather than by state law. State law only fills in the gaps in what the living trust says. You don’t need to change that. For one reason, you’re not going to be going through probate if you’ve properly funded your living trust.
Wills are also generally good from one state to another, although, state law varies according to the witnessing requirements. For example, Missouri requires two witnesses and a notary. Illinois requires the two witnesses, but not a notary. So you might want to check on that if you move to another state to see whether your will would be accepted for filing based on the manner which it’s been witnessed.
Powers of attorney, I tell people generally speaking it’s a good idea to have those updated. The main reason is that most states have forms of powers of attorney that are either state sanctioned or at least developed by a state bar that are in general use and acceptance. And, if you have a power of attorney that people who see it aren’t familiar with, it might be legal but if you’re taking in a healthcare power of attorney and your doctor’s office or hospital have never seen this before, they’re probably going to say, “well, you know, we don’t want to give you a hard time but we need to have somebody in our legal department take a look at this first to see if what you’re proposing to do is ok.”
Probably the best simple advice to that question is, if you move from one state to another and you have an estate plan in place, just call an estate planning elder law attorney in the state that you moved to and say, “here’s what I’ve got. Am I ok, or do I need to update this?”
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Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.