Must My Mother Sign a New Will When She Moves to a New State?
My mother is 88 and had a will drawn up in 1991 when she lived in Oregon. The beneficiaries (my brother and I, 50/50 split) have not changed, and the designated representative (me) has not changed. She lives in Virginia now, as do I (my brother lives in Canada). The original will does not specify certain property, just a 50/50 split. Does she need to update her will? Her assets are quite modest. She will be having open heart surgery very soon so she has asked that I research the matter so she can proceed accordingly.
No, your mother does not need to update her will. Under the full faith and credit law of the U.S. Constitution, Virginia must honor a will that is valid under Oregon law.
That said, it can’t hurt to consult with a local attorney just to make sure that there’s not anything in Virginia that might affect your mother or her estate. In addition, your mother should have a Virginia durable power of attorney and health care directive. While, again, if she has these documents from Oregon, they should be honored in Virginia, local medical providers and financial institutions are often much more familiar and comfortable with local forms. So it’s more important that your mother update these documents than her will.
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