Ah, the joys of moving! Among all the changes you must make when you move from your old state to a new state: driver's license, voter registration, be sure to not forget about your Last Will & Testament or other estate planning documents you had drafted in your previous state like Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Living Wills!

While your original will should still be valid in your new state, there may be differences in the new state's laws that may make certain provisions of that will invalid. Moving from one state to another is a good reason to consult an attorney fluent in your new state's laws to make sure your estate plan in general is still up-to-date for your current situation.

Of course, you may ask - Why is this important to do? Why bother meeting with a different attorney? Why can't it stay as drafted originally, or, why can't I just have my will amended by the original attorney instead who drafted it in my old state of residence if I needed to make changes to it?

There are a lot of reasons:  Most obvious one being that your original attorney you used before may not be licensed to practice law in your new state! Also, property laws can vary from state to state.  For example, It is especially important to have your estate plan reviewed if you move from a common law state to a community property state, like Arizona, California, Idaho, New Mexico, Louisiana, Washington, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin, and Alaska) or vice versa.  

In a common law state each spouse's property is owned individually, while in a community property state, property acquired during the marriage is considered community property. In addition, states may have different rules about when co-owned property may pass to the surviving owner and when it may pass under the will.

Other things to consider are whether there is any language you can add to the will to make it easier to probate in your new state and whether your executor named in the document made in your previous state of residence, still makes sense now based on your new location. Other elements of your estate plan may certainly need updating as well. For example, your new state may also have different rules for powers of attorney or health care directives.

While it may seem troublesome or unnecessary, the best practice is to meet with an Elder Law Attorney licensed in your new state to make sure that all documents will still work the way that you want them to. There may be changes that now need to be made under that state's law. 

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