Making a big move is exciting. Maybe you have a new job or are ready to see what else is out there for you. Perhaps you're moving back home to be closer to family. Or, maybe you're retiring somewhere warm; after all, you've earned it. But preparing for a big move isn't just getting yourself and your belongings to your new place. There are a lot of details and administrative tasks that need your attention.
Estate Planning is one of life's little administrative tasks that's easy to put off. You may not think of it often and are likely only reminded of it in the grimmest of circumstances. It's also one of those tasks that you absolutely do not want to put off, especially if you are moving out of state or to another country with its own laws and regulations.
Preparing for a big move includes the peace of mind of knowing all of your affairs are in order and that you and your loved ones are protected, no matter what. If you've got the moving van packed up and are ready to hit the road, we have a few important tips before you do:
New State, New Laws
A lot more than your address changes when you make a big move. There is a new location and new people to get used to. Starting a new job and fitting in with new co-workers can be nerve-wracking. There can also be new laws that affect your life that you will need to be aware of.
Each state has its own Estate Planning laws and processes, from property rights and what you can leave to whom in your Will to Estate and inheritance taxes. Most states recognize out-of-state Wills as long as they are valid in the state in which they originated. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't still revisit your plan before or shortly after a big move.
For help with what has changed since your move and updating an existing Estate Plan, or starting fresh with new documents, consult a reputable resource like Trust & Will. Their knowledgeable lawyers know the ins and outs of how your Estate Plan may change depending on where you live.
Revisit the People Listed in Your Estate Plan
There are two central people named in your Will: The Executor of your Estate and your Power of Attorney. You may also have a Legal Guardian listed in your Will for any children or pets. These people may be one and the same, but it is vital to consider their relationship, as well as their proximity to you, after a big move. You may need to make some changes to your documents.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is responsible for acting in another person's best interests should they become incapacitated or otherwise unable to speak for themselves. A Power of Attorney can make medical decisions for you, access your financial accounts, and decide when and how to sell off assets, such as your home or vehicle.
If you aren't married or are a widow, you may have named a child or sibling your Power of Attorney. Or, perhaps you chose a close, personal friend you have known for years. Whomever you've chosen, you may want to update your Power of Attorney to someone who lives closer to your new home.
Because of the responsibilities of a Power of Attorney, it is wise to choose someone who can easily be by your side or step into the role without having to make a long trip.
An Executor is a personal representative for your Estate. An Executor is legally responsible for seeing your Estate through the process of settlement. This includes making sure debts and taxes are paid, distributing assets, and seeing an Estate through Probate Court.
Executors are generally family members, including spouses, children, parents, or siblings. If you've moved away from your family, you may choose a close family friend who is like family to you.
It is not a requirement for an Executor of an Estate to live near you. However, many states require that the Executor submit a detailed inventory of a Decedent's assets. They must also distribute assets to their intended Beneficiaries and dispose of anything left in the Estate after paying off debts and distribution to Heirs. For this reason, it may be easier on the person you appoint as your Executor if they do live near you.
You may have also named a Legal Guardian for your minor children or pets. Someone you trust to love and care for those closest to you just as you would. If your family moves away, they may no longer be the best choice.
Moving to a new state or country is a huge change for any kid, no matter how well-adjusted they may seem. If something were to happen to you and they needed to relocate again, you may not want them to have to make another big move. Choosing a Legal Guardian who lives closer to your new home can protect your kids from having to leave another home, school, and friend group behind.
Simplify the Process with Online Estate Planning
You no doubt have a lot on your plate. Even the smoothest of moves can be stressful. Starting over in a new place can be just as daunting as exciting. Instead of trying to update your Will or Trust with your old attorney through a Zoom call, or finding a new one in your new state, try a reputable online Estate Planning firm.
You can do just about everything online these days. Why not create or update your Estate Plan? With Trust & Will, a leader in online Estate Planning, the process is easier now than ever. With state-specific online Estate Planning documents, you can make sure you and your family are protected from anywhere, even your couch.
Trust & Will has everything you need to create or update your online Estate Plan after a big move - and none of the hassle. Get started today!