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Update Your Estate Plan When You Move to a New State

Posted by Aubrey Carew Sizer | Nov 14, 2022

Your estate plan is your means of establishing a financial legacy and ensuring that your wishes are upheld when you die or become incapacitated. Attending to your estate planning, however, is not a static event but should, instead, be an ongoing effort that unfolds along with your life. In order to be most effective, your estate plan should address important changes in your life, including if you move out of one state and into another. The experienced estate planning attorneys at The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer in Virginia are well prepared to help you update your estate plan when you move – or in response to any other significant event in your life – and can be reached for skilled legal guidance at (571) 403-2619 today.

The Estate Planning Basics When It Comes to a Move

There are several basic considerations when it comes to your estate plan and a move out of state.

Your Last Will and Testament and Trust Documents

The Virginia State Bar determines the laws that apply to your Last Will and Testament and trust documents. When these legal documents are executed in accordance with the law in one state, they are typically deemed valid in other states, but this is not the end of the matter. Failing to update your estate plan when you move to Virginia, for example, can make it more challenging for your heirs to inherit as seamlessly as possible while remaining in accordance with your wishes. To begin, failing to update your estate plan upon your move means that your loved ones will very likely need the legal guidance of an attorney from each state upon your death.

Estate Taxes at the State Level

Some states implement estate taxes, and some do not. If you currently reside in a state that has estate taxes, your estate plan may include gifts that are set to equal the state's tax-threshold amount, and if you move to a state with a lower threshold, the tax implications for your loved ones will be more considerable. Conversely, if you move to a state that has a higher or no threshold, your heirs could miss out on these tax benefits. The Virginia Department of Taxation no longer implements an estate or inheritance tax, and the seasoned estate planning attorneys at The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer have the legal insight and skill to help ensure that your estate plan is in accordance with Virginia's governance and maximizes its taxation benefits.

Executors, Powers of Attorney, and Healthcare Directives

It is also important to revisit matters such as the following upon a move:

  • Estate Executors – A move out of state can lead to issues when it comes to the executor of your estate. The specific qualifications can vary from state to state, and there is also the matter of whether or not the distance involved will make it impractical for your chosen executor to serve.
  • Power of Attorney Designations and Healthcare Directives – While your power of attorney designations and healthcare directives should not be affected by a move out of state, nonconformity with the new state's legal requirements or preferences can slow down the process.

Making the right choices for you within your current circumstances is the best approach to take when it comes to estate planning.    

Why Is It Important to Keep Your Estate Planning Up to Date as Your Life Changes?

Your estate plan has one primary job to do, and that is to make sure your financial affairs and your healthcare concerns are addressed in accordance with your wishes when the time comes. Your overall estate is likely to evolve considerably over the course of your adult life, and your wishes regarding how you would like your financial legacy to flow to those you love – and to the causes you believe in – may evolve accordingly. It is important to note that federal and state estate planning laws are also subject to change, which makes giving your estate plan the ongoing attention it requires paramount. Revisiting your planning in response to evolving laws and life changes allows you to maintain a system of checks and balances that provides you with the kind of peace of mind only a well-considered and well-maintained estate plan can.

What Should Cause You to Revisit Your Estate Plan?

There are a wide range of reasons to revisit your estate plan, including updates related to a move. Your estate planning needs are unique to you, and one of the most important steps you can take to ensure your wishes are upheld is working closely with a dedicated estate planning attorney. All the following life events should also inspire you to circle back to your estate plan:

  • Regularly Scheduled Maintenance – Having a regularly scheduled maintenance appointment with your estate planning attorney is well advised. At a minimum, checking in every three years helps to ensure that you remain abreast of any applicable changes in the law, that you are aware of fluctuations in your estate's overall value, and that you address your own evolving goals.
  • Family Changes – Births, deaths, marriages, and divorces can all affect your estate planning choices and should prompt you to check in with your estate planning attorney.
  • Health Concerns – If you or a loved one is experiencing a serious health concern, addressing long-term care and any special trustee instructions may be in order.
  • Retirement – As your retirement unfolds, there are financial concerns and tax implications to consider.

If you have a question or concern related to your estate planning, it is a good time to revisit the issue with your trusted estate planning attorney. 

Turn to an Experienced Virginia Estate Planning Attorney for Clear Legal Guidance

The knowledgeable Virginia estate planning attorneys at The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer are committed to helping you effectively and efficiently update your estate plan when you move – or in response to any other significant change. To learn more about what we can do to help you, please do not delay reaching out and contacting or calling us at (571) 403-2619 today.

About the Author

Aubrey Carew Sizer

Aubrey Carew Sizer is the Principal Attorney of The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer PLLC, a Northern Virginia law firm providing representation for Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning, Long-Term Care Planning, Guardianship and Conservatorship, Special Needs Planning for the Disabled, and Probate, Estate and Trust Administration.

Services

The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer PLLC provides customized and affordable estate planning (including wills, living trusts, powers of attorney, and advance medical directives); elder law services (including long-term care planning, special needs planning for the disabled, and guardianships and conservatorships); probate, estate and trust administration (including advising executors and administrators of estates about post-mortem planning and the local probate process in Virginia), as well as general aging and disability advice in Northern Virginia, including but not limited to Arlington, Alexandria, Ashburn, Bristow, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Gainesville, Fairfax, Falls Church, Haymarket, Herndon, Leesburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, Reston, Springfield, Sterling, and throughout Loudoun, Prince William, and Fairfax counties.

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