Moving into a new house can be an overwhelming process. There are often documents to sign, checks to write, boxes to pack and unpack, and then organization that must occur. Sometimes when moving, it can feel as if forgetting something is inevitable. However, you probably do not want to forget to update your estate plan.
Estate plans work best when they reflect your current wishes and situation. Often, life events, such as moving into a new home, change your situation, so when life events occur, you may need to have your estate plan reviewed, so the appropriate changes can be made. When you move into a new home, there are three good reasons to update your estate plan as soon as possible.
Laws can differ between states
Estate planning laws are set at the state level, which means that they can differ between states. For example, sometimes states have different requirements that must be met for a document to be valid. One state may only require a will to be signed by two witnesses, while another state may require it to be signed by three witnesses.
Other times, a state may not recognize a certain type of document at all, or may call the document something else. This commonly occurs with advance medical directives.
If you move from one state to another, it may be especially important that you have your estate plan updated as soon as possible. If your estate plan has not been updated by the time it is needed, it may not work as you intended.
Your assets may change
Even if you did not relocate to another state, you may still need to update your estate plan due to a change in assets. Your old estate planning documents may not account for your new house, and they may account for assets you no longer have.
Often, people purge unwanted possessions before a move. You may have given some of your jewelry to a child or sold off a painting or two that do not fit in your new place. However, it is just as likely that you purchased new assets to decorate your new residence.
When there is a significant change in the value of your estate, you should make sure to have your estate plan reviewed. It is not advantageous to bequeath items that you no longer possess or leave large assets out of your estate plan. Also, keep in mind that if the changes are significant enough, there may even be a better overall estate planning strategy that could be implemented.
Appointments may no longer be appropriate
You may also need to update your estate plan if some appointments no longer make sense after your move. When you drafted your original estate planning documents, you probably appointed certain family members or friends for important roles in your estate plan. For example, you may have named a trustee, an executor of a will or an agent in a durable power of attorney.
Sometimes, location is a valid consideration when you chose one person over another for an appointment, but after your move these appointments may not be as appropriate as they once were. For instance, your agent in a financial power of attorney may no longer live close enough to you or your assets to provide help when help is needed. If any person selected to fill a role in your estate plan is no longer the best choice for that position, it may be time to choose someone else.
Relocating can offer changes to more than just the scenery. It can be filled with opportunities for new experiences and adventures. It can also be a step closer to some of your long-term goals. Just remember that moving toward housing goals should not move you away from your estate planning goals. You put the time and effort in to create your original estate plan. When you move, consider having your plan reviewed and revised as soon as possible to make sure it reflects all of the exciting changes that have occurred.