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McClellan Legal LLC Estate Planning & Tax Assessment Blog

Friday, October 18, 2019

Are your Out-of-State Estate Planning Documents Still Valid?

People move from one state to another for a myriad of reasons: better education for their children, job relocation, retirement, etc. Moving can be stressful and all-encompassing. Once you have settled into your new home, you may believe that the moving process has been completed. However, you should consider updating your estate planning documents to reflect your move.

If your Will was properly executed in one state (e.g., Delaware), then it will likely be valid when you move to a different state (e.g., Pennsylvania).  However, each state has different laws regarding the execution and administration of a Will. These differences are often minor, but sometimes they can drastically impact your planning.  For example, states vary regarding the required residence of an executor, inheritance tax laws, and whether a child can be disinherited by omission.  Additionally, some states require a certain number of witnesses for the Will to be valid in that state. Therefore, if your existing estate plan was executed in a state other than the one in which you currently reside, it would be worthwhile to meet with a local attorney for advice on whether executing updated documents is the right choice for you.

Similarly, your Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney will also be valid when you move from one state to another. Again, you should consider updating these documents because your out-of-state documents may be stale (i.e. too old), or not readily recognized by the local businesses that will need to accept them. First, banks like to see a recently executed Durable Power of Attorney to ensure that it reflects your current wishes and incorporates any new laws. Additionally, these documents may be formatted differently across states and may not be recognizable to those in charge of accepting these documents, so they are more likely to be rejected. To save yourself and your fiduciaries this hassle, you should update these documents in addition to your Will.

We highly recommend periodically reviewing and updating your estate planning regardless of whether you have recently moved. While moving is a major personal change, there may be other legal changes of which you may not be aware. Several new laws could undermine the effectiveness of your estate planning documents. A great way to maintain your documents’ validity is to join our Legacy Annual Maintenance Program (LAMP) for a small fee every year which, among other benefits, would include an annual review of your documents to ensure their longevity.

If you have recently moved to Pennsylvania and would like to execute new estate planning documents, please call our office at 610-444-5552 to schedule a free initial meeting to further discuss your estate planning needs.


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McClellan Legal LLC is located in Kennett Square and serves clients throughout the areas of Avondale, Chadds Ford, Coatesville, Downingtown, Landenberg, Oxford, Phoenixville, Pottstown, West Chester, & West Grove.



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113 South Broad Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348
| Phone: 610-444-5552

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