June 21, 2022
If you’ve recently moved, you likely have a lot on your mind, whether its packing and unpacking, purchasing furniture, or finding a new plumber. One thing you should not let fall through the cracks is your estate plan.
Like other major life changes —the birth of a child, a divorce, or a partner’s death — a move to another state may require you to revisit your estate plan. Don’t worry: we’re not talking a total re-do. But it will be important to ensure the plan you do have is updated to avoid unnecessary problems later.
While many states will likely recognize the legality of an estate plan prepared in another state, there are subtle but important differences in forms, laws and more that can prevent your estate plan from being recognized as valid – and which could potentially land your loved ones in probate.
If you have moved from one state to another recently, estate tax planning is important as inheritance taxes and laws vary from state-to-state. For this reason, it makes sense to review your existing estate plan with an attorney in your new state who is familiar with local laws. The good news is, Arizona does not have an estate tax.
While we recommend you review and amend your estate plan if you move to another state, we can’t stress enough that you should also consider adding your newly purchased home to a trust. The trust will eliminate the probate process, and your assets will be distributed as you wish; you will reduce the estate’s taxes; and your property can be safe from creditors.
If you are married, you’ll want to understand how your new state treats marital property. In a community property state, all marital property is considered to be jointly owned, whereas common law states treat property in one spouse’s name as belonging to them only. Arizona is a community property state. If you had previously lived in a common-law state, the designations you’ve made in your plan may not work the way you expect them to.
Consult with an Arizona estate planning attorney
Your move is a great time to revisit your estate plan and ensure that everything is in order. Even if you don’t think state laws will affect your current plan, updating names, numbers, and all relevant property and individuals in your plan is a must and will save your loved ones a lot of problems later. We can help with this! 480-422-6246.
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18835 North Thompson Peak Parkway, Suite C-220
Scottsdale, Arizona 85255
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