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Are California wills and Living Trust valid if I move to another state?

Point Venture, TX |

I have a Last Will and Testament, Declaration of Trust, Memorandum of Trust, Uniform statutory Form of Power Attorney and advanced Health Care Directive created and signed in Califormia in 2004. I now live in Texas and have no property in California. Are these documents still valid?

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Attorney answers 2


Usually wills executed in one state are valid in another, as long as the execution is proper under the laws of the state in which they were created. For example a a will created in a state which requires only two witnesses such as New York State,will typically be allowed for probate in a sister state. Some states require three witnesses, but will generally accept a will which was properly executed under the laws of another state. one of the advantages of a living trust is that it can be transported from state to state, and will generally be accepted in all other states. In either of these events, it is a good idea to retain an attorney for consultation in the new state after you move. It is possible that a simple codicil tour will will allow an otherwise unusable will become invalid under the laws of the new state. Similarly, since it is a good idea to review your state documents-whether a will package, or a living trust package-it would be wise to have an attorney licensed in the new state review all of your estate planning documents to assure their validity and also to check to see whether or not any updating is beneficial.

Robert L. Brenna Jr.
Brenna Brenna and Boyce
Rochester New York


Just to add to Mr. Brenna's wise advice -- if you haven't looked at your estate planning documents in at least three years, then at a minimum, please take them off the shelf or out of the safe deposit box. Ask yourself whether the facts -- the value or nature of the assets you own, the people you want to manage your estate or leave assets to, etc. -- have changed. If they have, it may be time to see an attorney for a review.

You may also find that even though your California power of attorney SHOULD be honored by a Texas financial institution, some will balk. If that happens, you will need to decide whether it's worth your time and energy fighting the bank or getting a new power of attorney drafted by a local estate planning or elder law attorney.