Do I Have to Update My Will Every Time I Move?
What subjects in a last will are interchangeable within all states? If I move frequently due to my company, is there anything on my will I know will always be valid, or do I have to pay every time I move? What are the big topics that change when you move?
Due to the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reads “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State,” your will executed in one state will be honored if you move to another state. So you don’t have to get a new will every time you move. This is also true of revocable trusts. They will be honored in all states.
It’s less true of durable powers of attorney and health care directives. While they should be honored from state to state, sometimes banks, medical professionals, and financial and health care institutions don’t accept documents in forms with which they are not familiar. In addition, for some purposes, the execution requirements may be different. For instance, some states require witnesses on durable powers of attorney and others don’t. A state requiring witnesses may not allow a power of attorney without them to be used to convey real estate, even though the document is perfectly valid in the state in which it was executed.
Further, some states have estate taxes and others don’t. Some states are community property states and others are not. Every state applies the Medicaid rules for coverage of long-term care a bit differently. So, while your will may be perfectly valid from one state to another, it’s worth having your plan reviewed when you move to make sure you shouldn’t change an aspect of your plan. What we don’t know can always come back to bite us.