Family Holding Boxes in Their New HomeWhile moving to a new state doesn’t automatically void the Estate Planning documents you created in another state, it is the perfect time to schedule a complete review of your plan with an attorney in your new state. Some state laws could affect your decision-making and require new documents. If you have recently moved to Texas or Arkansas, the Estate Planning team at Ross & Shoalmire can review your plan and advise you on the best course of action to protect the original intent of your estate plan.

How Your Move Could Affect Your Estate Plan

As long as your estate planning documents—including your Will, Living Trusts, Advance Directives, and Powers of Attorney —were properly executed in your previous state, they should be valid in your new state. However, if you don’t review and update them when you move, you or your family could find out too late that they don’t accomplish your goals. Estate Planning documents should be reviewed periodically whether you have moved or not, so a relocation is a good time to do that.

Last Will and Testament

Your estate Plan’s foundation document will probably stand up in any state, but there are a few elements of your Will that you should go over with a lawyer, including the following:

  • Who is your Executor? Can the person you chose as your Executor fulfill that role in your new state? You need to consider not only the laws in your new state but also the logistics of your Executor being able to travel to attend to Probate after your death.
  • Marital property. Texas is a community property state; Arkansas is not. Depending on the laws in your previous state, these changes could impact your Will. For example, if your previous state was not a community property state, you might have included your spouse in your Will, which you may no longer need to do. Marital property laws could affect how you need to handle your property in order to get the desired outcome.
  • Probate. The process of probating an estate varies widely from state to state. Estate plans are often created specifically with Probate in mind, and these considerations may not transfer smoothly from one state to another. An attorney in your new state can explain the Probate process and help you create an Estate Plan that handles it to your greatest benefit.
  • General updates. Now is a good time to update anything in your Will that no longer applies. If your Will names guardians for your children, for example, and they are now all over 18, your Will should be revised. If anyone named in your original Will has passed or has fallen out of favor, you can remove them.

The good news is, you do not have to understand every aspect of Wills in your new state. We will review your existing Will and explain what you need to do to update it.

Living Trusts

If you have a Revocable Living Trust, it will still be valid regardless of where you live. However, the assets you want to be included in the Trust may have changed. For example, if you have bought a new home in Texas or opened new bank accounts, and you want those in the Trust so that they will not have to be Probated upon your death, you will have to revise the Trust. There might also be options for different kinds of Trusts in Texas and Arkansas that were not available in your previous state.

Living Wills or Advance Directives

These documents are also state-specific. If you want to make sure that your long-term care or end-of-life wishes are documented, it’s important that you discuss this with a lawyer in your new state.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney names a trusted representative to act on your behalf on financial or healthcare matters if you become incapacitated. These documents should also be valid in Texas and Arkansas if they were properly executed in your previous state. However, you should review your choices as it’s usually desirable to have your Power of Attorney living nearby so that they can talk to doctors, financial institutions, and family members in person.

Are You Looking for an Estate Planning Attorney in Texarkana, TX?

If you are looking for estate planning advice, you need to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Texarkana office directly at 903.223.5653. We also have offices in Tyler, Paris, Longview as well as Magnolia, AR!


Kline Pillow
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Kline Pillow helps clients in TX and AR planning for the aging process with a specialty in Guardianship cases.
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