Written by Erica R. Berger-Hausthor, Esq.
Reviewed by Carolyn Landon, Esq.
Moving to a new state is a lot of work. Selling your home, packing, finding a new home, hiring a moving company, getting cars to a new state, finding new schools, new friends, a job. Moving is stressful and by the time you get settled into your new home the last thing you are thinking about is your Will or Trust.
After you take a break, it is important to review your will and other documents. Here are the reasons why:
1. I moved to Florida but I kept my apartment in New York.
Property is generally probated in the State where it is located. Probate is the process where your executor or personal representative hires an attorney to transfer your assets when you die. A probate needs to be opened in each state you own property. If you kept your home in New York, you would likely need a probate in Florida and New York. But you are in luck, an attorney can help you create an Estate plan that would prevent probate in two states.
2. I had a taxable estate in my old home state.
Florida does not have a state Estate Tax. The federal estate tax is $5.49 million. If you had a taxable Estate in your old state and your assets are lower than $5.49 million you may not need a lot of the tax planning that is in your current estate planning documents. In fact, an attorney can help you create a much simpler plan for after death.
3. I did a Power of Attorney two years ago.
While generally States recognize power attorneys that are validly executed in other states, some states require specific language in order for your agent to perform a specific act on your behalf.
4. I moved to Florida, but my family and friends still live in Massachusetts.
You may have chosen a personal representative or agent under your power of attorney because they are a loving family member or a close friend you trust. The physical distance may cause you to rethink if they are the best people to designate in your documents. Also, Florida requires an out of state personal representative to be related to the person who dies. Therefore a close friend who lives out of state would not be able to serve as your personal representative in Florida.
5. I lost my original Will in the move.
Don’t worry, your will is still valid. However, when someone passes away and there is no original will but rather a copy of it, probate becomes a much longer process. Your loved ones will have to prove the validity of the copy through several court proceedings. If you’d like to prevent the extra time and cost of proving the validity of your will, an attorney can draft a new will that revokes all prior wills to avoid any confusion after you pass.
6. I never had a Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, or any other documents when I lived in Illinois and I don’t have one now.
It is never too early to prepare for your death or a time when you are alive but not capable of caring for yourself. Creating these plans will give you peace of mind and ensure things of sentimental or monetary value get to the people you want in the way you want with a minimal amount of added stress.