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Is My Estate Plan Valid If I Move To Another State?

There are many life changes that occur during one’s existence, not the least of which is moving to another location. Quite often, for job placement or family reasons, the move is to another state. Along with this move comes the inevitable question of whether one’s will and other various estate planning documents are valid in another state.

Here is the basic rule. Working with a Last Will and Testament that was validly executed under the laws of the State of New York and was duly witnessed and acknowledged under New York. If one moves to another state, the question is whether that will is still valid. The short answer is “YES”, assuming that the Will is valid under New York Law, and would also be deemed valid under the requirements of due and proper execution in the new location’s jurisdiction.

In New York, a Will has to be witnessed by at least two “disinterested parties” and the Testator (person signing the Will) must have capacity (understanding, competence) to sign a legal document at time the Will was executed and must be free from fraud, undue influence, or coercion. Most states have similar requirements for due and proper execution; however, it would be of paramount importance to have your Will and other estate planning documents reviewed by a qualified attorney in the new location to see whether the Will would be valid under that state’s particular trusts and estates statutes.

In addition, the laws of succession can differ in various jurisdiction, as well as which parties will be necessary parties (i.e. next of kin) in a probate proceeding if a Will is eventually offered for probate.

As far as Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies are concerned, it is always a prudent idea to have updated documents revised and signed in the new jurisdiction where one resides. Those documents should be prepared by a qualified estate planning attorney to ensure these documents will be valid under that state’s particular guidelines and statues.

If you need an experienced Long Island estate attorney, please contact us at the Law Offices of Michael W. Alpert at (516) 280-7288 or e-mail: