Do We Need New Estate Planning Documents if We Move from One State to Another?

 In Wills

Question:

We had a community property agreement and wills prepared in Washington state where we resided for many years. We are now residents of Arizona which is also a community property state. Do we need new documents prepared in Arizona?

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Response:

Your Washington documents should be good in Arizona due to the Full Faith and Credit clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says that each state must honor the laws of all other states. That said, I’m still wary of giving you the “all clear.” You never know what you don’t know. Arizona may have its own estate planning taxes, rules or customs for which the Washington documents may be less than optimal. In addition, with respect to durable powers of attorney and health care directives, financial and medical institutions are sometimes resistant to honoring documents in forms that are different from those they commonly encounter. I’d recommend having all of your estate planning documents reviewed by an Arizona estate planning attorney just to be sure.

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