Estate planning is a critical process that ensures the proper management and distribution of assets upon one’s passing. Estate planning is largely the same across the country, but there are some notable differences that vary from state to state. If you move to a new area, you may want to review your estate plan. When life circumstances change, you should think about changing your Power of Attorney, Will and Living Will.
Some areas where differences might occur include:
Marital property is one of the biggest differences, particularly if you move from a community property state to a common-law one, or vice-versa.
In a community property state, any property or assets acquired during a marriage are generally considered to be owned equally between spouses. There are some exceptions, like inheritances left to only one spouse, but generally, income and property purchased during the marriage are assumed to be shared equally.
In a common-law state, assets that are acquired during a marriage aren’t automatically shared with spouses.
Moving from one place to another can require a change in estate planning.
Some places only allow executors within their area of residence. This means you might have to nominate someone nearby as an executor.
Health Care Power of Attorney
There are different laws regarding naming someone as your health care power of attorney. Check the local laws where you live to confirm who can be your Agent for your POA.
Most Differences Can Be Overcome, But It Might Take Time
State-to-state differences can extend the time and complexity of probate. It’s worth taking some time to make sure your plan is in compliance with the state you’re living in.
Intestacy laws differ in terms of who inherits the estate and in what proportions. Additionally, probate processes—the legal procedures for validating a will and administering an estate—can also vary.