Should I Update My Trust If I Move Here From Another State?
In Arizona, thousands of people move here every year from another state to retire or for a job relocation. When this happens, clients often ask me whether they need to update their estate planning documents that were drafted in another state. This blog answers this common question.
While estate planning documents that were validly drafted in another state are still valid in Arizona, I recommend that people who move to Arizona (especially if the move will be permanent) establish a relationship with a qualified Arizona attorney and have their estate planning documents reviewed and updated as necessary to comply with Arizona law. With respect to estate planning documents, each state has different laws that govern the validity of estate planning documents, and therefore it is a good idea to make sure that your documents will work the way you want them to in Arizona.
Three Things to Keep in Mind:
- If the documents were outdated in the state where you came from, they are still outdated here in Arizona, and you should update them. Typically, I recommend that clients review (and update their documents, if necessary) every 3 to 5 years. If it has been 10 to 20 years since your documents were completed, they will most likely need to be updated when you move to Arizona.
- Every state has particular statutes that apply to wills, trust, and other estate planning documents, and the state statutes are not the same. For instance, in Arizona, there is a particular statute regarding mental health care powers that is different than several other states. In Arizona, you need to have specific language to deal with mental health care issues (especially placement issues), or it will not be sufficient if you are trying to place a loved one in an Alzheimer’s facility. Without this specific Arizona language in your health care power of attorney or in a separate mental health care power of attorney, you may be required to go to court to accomplish this type of placement. However, with this language, you can avoid the $3,000 to $5,000 in legal fees to do so.
- Establishing a local attorney-client relationship is a good idea even if you don’t need to update your estate planning documents right now. If you have moved to Arizona permanently (or at least do not plan to move outside of the state at this time), I recommend establishing a relationship with a qualified Arizona estate planning attorney. That way, should you need assistance with any Arizona legal matters (including updating your trust), you know who to call for legal help or for a referral.
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