Couple updating their estate plan.

New to California? Why You May Want to Update Your Estate Plan

Putting an estate plan in place is a valuable step in helping protect your future and the future of your loved ones. To be most effective, however, an estate plan should remain as up to date as possible. This means that, especially in light of major life events, you should take a moment to see if your estate plan is still serving your goals. Review your estate plan after a birth in the family. Review your estate plan after a death in the family. Also, be sure to review and update your estate plan as needed after you relocate to a different state.

New to California? Why You May Want to Update Your Estate Plan

A to-do list after a state move can seem endless. Well, here is one more important thing to add to that list. Update your estate plan. You took the step to invest the time and money in protecting your future when you established your estate plan. Honor this investment by making time to see that your move has not signaled the need to update your plan in any way.

There is some good news here. Most documents in your estate plan should remain valid in California even if they were executed in a different state. California recognizes the validity of wills, revocable living trusts, powers of attorney, and advance healthcare directives that were properly executed in conformity with the state laws in which they were established. The terms of these documents, however, may need to be updated.

For instance, while your will may remain valid in California, you may want to take a look at several key terms to see if anything needs to be changed to reflect your state move. Often, people will want to change the personal representative named in their will after a move out of state. This is because the personal representative initially named lives outside of California. Having a personal representative living in the same state can be much more convenient. This is the person who will be responsible for collecting your property and paying your bills after you pass away. This could be extra burdensome for someone living outside of California.

The same logic applies to a guardian named in your will. If you have minor children, you may want to revisit who you named as guardian in your will after you move to California. Given the difference in locations, the person you originally selected may not be the best fit anymore.

While you may not want or need to change anything regarding a living trust after you move to California, it is worth reviewing things just to be sure. You want to be certain that your trust best serves your goals. The “situs,” or “home state,” of the trust can be important. The situs is usually where trust property is held and where the trust will be administered. After a move, you may want to change things a bit. You should take things such as practical concerns as well as tax consequences into account before you consider making any changes.

While it is true that California will recognize the power of attorney and health care directives executed in another state, it may be worth redoing these documents. These documents may be valid, but they may be subject to more scrutiny and challenge when presented to medical professionals who may be unfamiliar with the form or language used in the out of state documents. To help streamline the process should you need to use these tools, it may be beneficial to reestablish them in California.

Estate Planning Attorneys

If you have recently moved to California, the team at OC Wills & Trusts is happy to review your estate plan to make sure it is best serving the interests of you and your loved ones. Contact us today.