There are a number of changes you need to consider when you move out of state, such as updating your address, voter registration, and your estate plan. As long as your will was legally executed in your original state, it will still be valid when you move to another one. Wills, in addition to revocable trusts, are honored in every state.

However, moving does come with some unique considerations for your estate plan, including guardianship, updating information, and more. Although your will should remain valid in your new location, it never hurts to consult a legal professional to make sure. It’s best to review your estate plan regularly and after any major life changes, so this is a good chance to do so.

What to Consider When You Move

  • If your will is legally sound in your original state, it should still apply in your new state
  • There are certain factors you may need to adjust upon moving, such as guardianship
  • In some cases, updating your executor to someone local will be beneficial 
  • Reviewing your estate plan regularly and keeping it updated is essential
  • In some cases, seeking legal counsel will be necessary for your estate plan

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Marital Property Laws in Arizona

Community property laws (if applicable) are something you must consider when you move. Arizona is a community property state, meaning that you and your spouse both own anything you acquired during your marriage. If you’re moving to Arizona or out of state, the rules about marital property can change in accordance with the laws in the new state. You may need to adjust your will to align with these new rules.

Your Executor

Your executor is the individual you choose to take care of your estate’s affairs after you pass on. Their duties will typically include collecting property, paying off taxes and bills, and distributing the remaining assets among the named beneficiaries. Check into the state laws where you’re moving regarding who can fulfill the executor role for your estate.

While some states allow the executor to live out of state, others require the executor to live in the area or to be related to you by blood or marriage. In most cases, having a local executor is best, so you might want to change your will to reflect this after you move.

What About Beneficiaries? 

If you’ve already named a beneficiary for your retirement account, bank account, or insurance policy, it should still apply regardless of where you live. Your beneficiary designation is an agreement made with the insurance agency, retirement account custodian, or bank that controls the asset. However, one factor you should consider is keeping your contact details and the information for your beneficiaries updated after you move.

How Working With an Attorney Can Help

Estate plans are often time-consuming and costly to make, but fortunately, most people won’t have to start over completely when they move to a new state. For others with a more complicated situation, it might be worthwhile to get an entirely new set of documents that satisfy the legal requirements in their new state. As long as you know what your goals are for your heirs, this process shouldn’t take long.

If it’s been a few years since you updated your documents or you’ve undergone a major change (like a divorce or move out of state), your attorney can help you make sure the documents are legally valid. Whether you need to make a new will or just update some details on your estate plan, getting the documents approved by a lawyer first is best.

Frequently Asked Questions on Estate Planning and Wills

Here are some common questions people have about wills and estate planning in Arizona: 

Q: What will happen if I don’t make a will before I die? 

If you pass on without a will, the state will determine who is to receive the assets you leave behind (usually your spouse or children). Keep in mind that this plan may not align with your wishes and that a will is your chance to outline how your assets are to be distributed to support your desires.

Q: Which of my assets aren’t covered by a will? 

Your will won’t govern how certain assets (also known as non-probate property) are transferred, which pass according to a beneficiary designation contract or by operation of the title. For instance, if you have an asset with rights of survivorship applied, it will go automatically to whoever is named as the surviving owner.

Similarly, an insurance policy or IRA will usually pass to the beneficiary you named once you pass on, regardless of the terms in your will.

Q: Will my guardianship still be valid in my new state? 

You will need to cancel the first guardianship in your original state and get another one after you move. The courts in the first state won’t have jurisdiction over the matter after you move to a new state, so this is important to remember. 

Q: Will my revocable living trust still be valid once I move? 

A revocable living trust is a tool for estate planning that determines who will receive your property upon death. It’s called a “living trust” because you make it (and can alter the terms at any time) during your lifetime. A revocable living trust should remain valid regardless of which state you signed it in. However, it’s still worthwhile to double check with a lawyer to ensure that the terms are legally sound.

What to Do if You Need Help With a Will in Arizona

When you’re moving to a new state, there’s a lot to think about. Having a secure and updated estate plan is imperative for preserving your assets and making sure they go to the correct people once you pass on.

Every family situation is unique, so working with an estate planning attorney may help you determine the best tools to use. This valuable assistance is available for creating an estate plan from the ground up, updating your will, or just getting some of your questions answered.
 

Call Arizona Estate Attorney Dave Weed at (480)467-4325 to discuss your case today.

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