Is A Will Written In One State Valid In Another?


From obtaining a new driver’s license to updating your voter registration, moving to a new state means you need to update a lot of your personal information to avoid costly fines and tickets. While most individuals remember to update their personal information in a timely manner, one crucial document that people tend to forget about updating is their last will and testament.

Estate planning documents are essential for controlling the distribution of your property and assets, but they need to be up-to-date and in compliance with the laws of whichever state you live in. This means that before moving to a new state, it is imperative that you work with an experienced estate planning attorney to update your will and ensure it will be entirely valid.

What Is A Last Will and Testament?

A last will and testament is a legal document that explains when and how your beneficiaries will inherit your property and assets after you have passed away. In addition to this, your will also names an executor whose role is to be in charge of settling your final affairs and assisting with the dispersion of your property and assets.

If you die without a will, it means that you have died intestate. When this occurs, the intestacy laws of the state you reside in determine how and when your property and assets will be distributed after your death. This means that instead of honoring your wishes and dispersing your assets as you would have, a court will take the liberty of doing so according to their discretion.

Requirements for a Will

Will requirements are set by state law, and your will must follow the requirements set forth by the state in which you live. Typically, these rules govern aspects of wills, such as how many witnesses must sign the will and exactly where they must sign and witness the documents. While this may seem trivial, if your will does not follow the state’s rules, it may be considered invalid.

If your will is invalidated, your beneficiaries will have to go through probate to ensure they receive your property. Probate can be extremely time-consuming and expensive, so be sure to update your will if you are moving to a new state.

The following are some of the most common reasons for a will to be invalidated when moving to a new state:

  • Self-Proving Affidavit: A self-proving affidavit is a written declaration that proves that a will is valid and was made according to the desires of the will’s creator. Usually, this affidavit is notarized by a notary public, but some states require multiple witnesses to sign this document as well.
  • Holographic Wills: These wills are not witnessed, but they are hand-written by the testator. Most states do not accept this form of a will.
  • Location of Assets: Owning property in the state you are moving to makes it easier for your will to be validated. But, if you fail to add the property to your existing will, your beneficiaries will have to go through probate to obtain it.
  • Classification of Property: It is common for complications to arise if you move to a state that does not have a community property system. If you move from a state that does not have a community property system into a state that does, your will must be amended in order for it to be valid.

Will My Original Will Have the Same Effect if I Move to Another State?

A properly executed will that is crafted by an experienced estate planning attorney will assist you in determining how your property and assets will be distributed upon your death. In addition to this, a properly executed will is valid throughout the USA, which means if you move to a different state, you can rest assured that your will is valid.

The only hiccup that can occur when you move after creating a will is if your will does not comply with any laws of the new state you move to. This means that while your will is valid in any state you move to, certain aspects may need to be amended to conform to state laws to avoid costly probate.

While most estate planning laws are the same from state to state, some states have their own sets of additional rules and interpretations governing estate planning. If you are moving out of state and wish to ensure your will in its’ entirety will be valid, contact JacksonWhite Law today to schedule an appointment with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Call our Arizona Estate Planning team at (480)467-4325 to discuss your case today.

Contact The JacksonWhite Estate Team

Call (480) 467-4325 or fill out the form below to schedule a consultation and discuss your best legal options.

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