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Should I Make a New Estate Plan if I Move to a Different State?

Your estate plan should always reflect your current life circumstances. In fact, it is recommended that you reexamine your estate plan every three years. But if you made a move to a different state, you should reexamine it sooner, as every state has unique estate planning laws. Read on to understand which parts of your estate plan may need to be updated and how a proficient Des Moines estate planning lawyer at Herting Law, PLLC can help you correct it.

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Should I update my will if I move to a different state?

Typically, most states have laws that explicitly say that if you prepared a will in your old state of residence that was validated, then it is likely considered valid in your new state as well. However, the following are components of a will that may see different requirements in different states:

  • Witnesses: In the state of Iowa, you must sign your will and declare that it is your will in front of two witnesses, who must also sign your will, be 16 years of age or older, and not stand to inherit under the will. However, these requirements may not translate over to the new state you moved to.
  • Marital property rules: If you move from a community property state to a common law state, or vice versa, the rules about what you and your spouse own can change. Iowa is a common law state, which means that each spouse generally owns whatever is in their name. Other states that follow community property laws have spouses generally own together anything they require while they are married. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as property that was inherited by just one spouse.
  • Executors: A few states restrict who can serve as your executor, the primary reason being that they reside out of state. Luckily, Iowa is relatively lenient with who can be your executor, so long as they are 18 years of age or older and of sound mind.
  • Probate: You will want to make sure that your will still handles the issue of probate effectively in your new state, which may require some tweaking of the will’s language or even drafting another will or other estate planning documents.

If you require any additional assistance with updating your estate plan, contact our firm today.

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