If I had to pick one question that I am asked the most, I’d have to say this one ranks way up there…
Do I need a new estate plan if I move out of California?
Just like the answer to most estate planning questions, the answer is “it depends.” However, this one has a pretty simple explanation.
All estate plans should include these basic documents; a will, a healthcare directive, a financial power of attorney, and guardian nominations if you have minor children. These documents are state-specific and will need to be updated in accordance with your new state law requirements.
Many estate plans also include a trust. A trust is a legal document that allows a third party (called a trustee) to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. Trusts can be set up in many ways and allow you to specify exactly how and when your assets pass to your beneficiaries.
If you have a trust, it is a contract and, as such, is valid in any state. This means that if you change your state of residence, it does not necessarily need to be updated simply because you moved to another state.
However… (yes another one)
Some states have a state-specific estate tax. If your new state of residence has an estate tax, you may need to plan for it depending on your net worth.
Our state does not have an estate tax. Therefore, there is no need for us to consider this as we plan for you.
The bottom line: Don’t put off estate planning because you might “someday” move out of California. Yes, if you move from California, you may need to update in your new state of residence, and it may only be a minor update. This is general advice and, as they say, “mileage may vary,” so always be sure to get advice regarding your specific situation.