Moving to a new house can be stressful. You must pack up all your possessions, organize the boxes, sign paperwork and transport your belongings. Then, you get to unpack it all, organize your new house, replace missing or damaged items and likely sign more paperwork along the way.
Amidst all this chaos, you are sure to inadvertently overlook a few tasks. However, updating your estate plan is one task that you shouldn’t leave off your to-do list, especially if you are moving to another state.
Estate planning laws can vary
Estate planning laws are not the same from state to state. This means that an estate plan that was valid and strategically appropriate in one state, may be ineffective or even invalid in another state. You may need to make updates for your estate plan to work as you intend it to work.
Upgrading or downsizing can make an impact
However, even if you simply relocate within your home state, it may still be advantageous to ask a professional to review your estate plan and update it where necessary. This is partially because moving can significantly impact your assets and liabilities.
For example, the value of your new home and the debt you took on to acquire it may affect your overall financial situation. Selling real estate, giving away jewelry, purchasing valuable works of art or upgrading home furnishings can also impact your financial situation. Any significant changes to your financial situation should be reflected in your estate plan to make sure you are utilizing the most strategic plan for your situation.
Relocating could also make your alternate decision-makers inappropriate. For example, if you son is your agent in a financial power of attorney, you may consider if he still lives close enough to fulfill those duties. If your daughter is your agent in a medical power of attorney, you might ask yourself if she will still be able to get to your hospital quick enough to make emergency decisions. Although it is not necessary to choose someone local to fulfill these duties, someone who lives far away may not be available as frequently as someone who lives nearby.
In general, your estate plan will work best when it reflects your current wishes and your current situation. When your situations changes, so should your estate plan.