Attorneys have the important job of helping their clients create a legacy that is compliant with a number of different laws. For the most part, these laws will vary from state to state. Some differences are minor, while others can impact an estate plan significantly. Someone who already has established a will, trust, or other legal documents in one state should probably review their documents with a qualified attorney before relocating to another.
For example, if you created a trust in Pennsylvania but then move to Florida for retirement, you will want to talk to a local Florida attorney to ensure that your wishes would still be honored and your new property protected under Florida state laws. If you don’t know a lawyer in your new state, ask your current attorney if he or she can help make a referral.
If you are not moving away for good but still plan to buy property out of state, perhaps to live as a “snowbird” for half the year, you still need to notify your lawyer and ensure you have plans that work under each state’s laws. Otherwise, you could wind up in a situation where your estate goes through two separate probates, and your family is forced to fly all over the country to handle your end-of-life affairs.
There are some additional estate planning documents that should always be addressed with an estate planning lawyer when moving to a new state. Powers of attorney are vital for determining who can represent you should you become incapacitated, and those are administered under state law. Powers of attorney drawn up by a will and trust lawyer in a different state may be disregarded by the courts in another area of the country so again, talk to your lawyer to ensure your documents will remain in compliance.
A final consideration in the discussion of where to establish a trust is the tax implications. By working with a qualified will and trust lawyer, you can uncover which state may hold the highest benefits for you, your estate, and your heirs for tax purposes. It is possible to have trusts set up in more than one state, though the complexities of doing so are absolutely something that should be done with the guidance of a knowledgeable professional with plenty of experience in trusts administration.
Because estate planning documents take time to put in place, talk to your lawyer well before the date that you plan to leave the state for good. That will ensure that your documents will work as you intend them to, no matter where you are in the United States! For help getting started, contact Sechler Law Firm to schedule a consultation.